In an effort to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among low-income Asian Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans ages 50 to 75, Cook County created the Colorectal Cancer Alliance to Reinforce and Enhance Screening, better known as the CARES program. Research into the structure, inventory, and capacity of local hospital health systems revealed that a major barrier to colorectal cancer screening was the wait time for getting an appointment. To address this, the CARES program opted to work directly with health care system partners to create a multifaceted framework that would increase organized approaches to screening, prevention, and control. After identifying hospitals with the capacity to provide colonoscopy care and a willingness to accept uninsured patients, CARES program team members asked potential partners to commit to participating in the program. Once a network was developed, a website was created to help providers connect with partner hospitals, ensuring that patients would be able to get screened, obtain results, and receive follow-up care in a timely manner. Over 300 providers participated in the program, and at the clinic level, colorectal cancer screening rates increased from 1% to 20% in just two years.
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