Cancer group 'adopts' provider

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

FREEPORT, Ill. - The month of October is typically a time when women's health providers turn to "Pink Ribbon" products and in-store fittings in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Freeport Home Medical Equipment takes a different approach. 

The provider is sponsoring a "Journey Beyond Cancer" seminar series for cancer survivors in conjunction with a local Cancer Survivor Educational Outreach Coalition. The three-part series includes discussions of: nutrition and its connection to cancer and other chronic diseases; coping with fear of recurrence and checkup anxiety; and dealing with financial and insurance concerns.

That last discussion will be led Carolyn Sluiter, founder of Freeport Home Medical. As an HME provider, she is well positioned to bring a working knowledge of insurance coverage to the table, she says.

"We are educating people not only about equipment and what we can do for people," says Sluiter, "but also about how their insurance covers it."

Lack of information--about insurance coverage and available products--seems to be an especially big problem among breast cancer survivors, says Sluiter. Doctors aren't as concerned with what happens post-mastectomy, she said.

"We have seen people 10 or 15 years post-surgery that have gone without any (products) because they were not aware," she said. "Our ladies need to be educated to find a boutique (that has post-mastectomy products)."

Freeport Home Medical got involved with the coalition about three years ago, when the provider was approached to participate in a retreat for cancer survivors. Although other providers were invited, Freeport Home Medical was the only one to attend.

"We've been adopted into this whole cancer education group and we have been doing whatever they needed us to do," said Sluiter. "That opened up a lot of new patients coming to see us."