Williston, ND - To alleviate the financial burden of cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recently awarded a $23,000 transportation grant to CHI St. Alexius Health Williston. The grant is one of 380 transportation grants totaling $6.2 million awarded to health systems nationwide. The funding will allow health systems to provide eligible patients an estimated 577,350 rides to treatment.
“We, the staff and leadership at the Leonard P. Nelson Family Cancer Center, are grateful for the continued support of the American Cancer Society in caring for our community. This grant will help alleviate travel expenses related to treatment and in return reduce stress on the patient; reduced stress promotes healing. Our patients face many obstacles while receiving their treatment; travel expenses should not be one of them, and because of this grant, it won’t be”, says Marti Volz, Director of Ancillary Services for CHI St. Alexius St. Health Williston.
Why Transportation Funding is Needed
Lack of transportation to treatment prevents many people living with cancer from getting high-quality care which worsens cancer outcomes.
In a study presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Care Symposium, American Cancer Society researchers found that 2.8% of cancer survivors reported delays in care due to transportation barriers. Cancer survivors who delayed care due to lack of transportation were more likely to use the emergency room and had the highest risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality.
According to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts & Figures 2022-2024, cancer survivors experience greater financial hardship than the general population for many reasons including the inability to work. They also have higher out of pocket medical costs compared to people without a history of cancer. The economic burden of cancer is more profound in survivors who are younger or were diagnosed in childhood, underinsured or uninsured, and have lower incomes.
“Not having access to high-quality cancer treatment due to where you live contributes to the disparities we see in cancer outcomes. It’s important to provide the funding and programming needed to keep a lack of transportation from impacting survival,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, chief patient officer for the American Cancer Society. “The local health systems we partner with across the country use this funding to deliver assistance directly to the patients who need it most.”
The American Cancer Society believes all people should have a fair and just opportunity to live a longer, healthier life free from cancer regardless of how much money they make, skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status or where they live. In addition to providing transportation funding to health systems, the American Cancer Society runs a Road To Recovery program that provides free rides to and from treatment.
About CHI St. Alexius Health
CHI St. Alexius Health is a regional health network with a unified mission: nurturing the healing ministry of the Church while creating healthier communities. In 1920 the sisters of mercy came to Williston in hopes of bringing healthcare to the community. 100 years later we are still serving their mission of providing health care through Christ’s healing ministry.
CHI St. Alexius Health is part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit Health is committed to creating healthier communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2018, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of $29.2 billion and provided $4.2 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs.