Audit: NYC Women Wait Months for Mammograms

by Julie Clark
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Ultrasound Machine
Kristie Wells, flickr

Comptroller John Liu's audit says women wait as long as two months for exams.

The audit examined nine facilities and their ability to provide, review and report on two types of mammograms.

Screening mammograms are initial checks for cancer, while diagnostic mammograms are more urgent and are conducted when a lump or other sign of cancer is found. At Elmhurst hospital in Queens women are waiting up to 50 working days for a diagnostic mammogram, according to the data.

Lois Uttley of the group Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need said this is too long. “For a woman who is worried that she might have breast cancer, a fifty day wait for a diagnostic mammogram could be agonizing and could delay urgently needed treatment,” she said. Uttley also said many of the women going to the HHC facilities are uninsured and have no other place to get a mammogram.

In a statement, the Health and Hospital Corporation said the audit used data from fiscal year 2009, not the more recent data the HHC provided. The HHC said they “absolutely refute their [the report’s] conclusion that there are any dangerous delays to patients,” and said at least seven hospitals have a zero to one day wait time. They also say they hope that women are not discouraged to go to an HCC facility for a mammogram because of the report.

 

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