The Blue Mountain Health System (BMHS) recently received a $9,975 grant from The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania to provide mammogram services and education for uninsured women in Carbon County.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Pennsylvania. Early detection of breast cancer greatly improves survival rates, improves the patients' quality of life, and reduces long-term care costs.

Since 2002, BMHS' Mammography and Diagnostic Ultrasounds Program has provided free mammograms to uninsured women in Carbon County. Blue Ribbon Foundation funding will help expand the digital mammography program to include 95 new un/underinsured patients in the coming year.

"A mammogram is one of the best tools for the early detection of breast cancer and life-saving early intervention," said Cynthia A. Yevich, executive director, The Blue Ribbon Foundation. "We are pleased to help expand this service for women in Carbon County who otherwise might not be screened.""This grant provides a much-needed service in our region," states Andrew E. Harris, president and chief executive officer of the Blue Mountain Health System. "Many women do not have sufficient insurance coverage, or no coverage for screening mammograms. We know early detection of breast cancer is key and our Mammography and Diagnostic Ultrasound Program can literally help save the lives of women in Carbon County who otherwise would not be able to have a mammogram."

If you or someone you know needs a screening mammogram and does not have insurance or is under-insured, please contact the hospitals of the Blue Mountain Health System by calling (610) 377-1300 or (610) 826-3141.

The Blue Mountain Health System consists of the Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital, a 101-bed community hospital in Lehighton, Pa.; the Palmerton Hospital, a 70-bed community hospital located in Palmerton, Pa.; and The Summit, a 91-bed nursing and rehabilitation center. The hospitals of the Blue Mountain Health System are regional providers of health care services to the people living in Carbon County and parts of Monroe, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties. The hospitals have received numerous accolades for their commitment to providing high quality health care. Combined, these facilities have been serving the region for more than 100 years. Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company's mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.