Estes Park Health needs to replace the current 2D equipment with a new, innovative 3D mammography machine. The 2D machine will reach end of life in 2020. 3D mammography can detect 20-65% more breast cancers compared to 2D systems, and a 3D machine here at Estes Park Health will eliminate the scary “wait and see” period many patients undergo when their radiologist sees something that looks suspicious on a 2D mammogram and refers them to another appointment in the valley. 3D mammography can be used for screening and diagnostic mammograms, and is especially beneficial for women with very dense breast tissue. In 2018, EPH performed 810 mammography exams. Sixty-five were a birad number 0, which means that those patients were sent to a diagnostic breast center on the Front Range for follow up.
It will cost $355,000 in order to fully fund this project. The Foundation would like to raise at least $155,000 toward the cost. In 2019, requests to EPH’s capital budget exceeded the budget by twofold. Financial assistance provided by the Estes Park Health Foundation is critical to fund this project.
Led by Director Brigitte Foust, EPH’s Diagnostic Imaging Department has been awarded accreditation in Computed Tomography (CT) and Mammography by the American College of Radiology. The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety and is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field.
In addition, Estes Park Health does not make a profit on mammograms. Insurance reimbursements from both private and governmental programs are lower than the cost of the equipment, staff and maintenance. However, as a community healthcare organization, there are services that EPH needs to provide. 3D Mammography is one of them.