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Breaking Down Barriers to Healthcare Access: 1,000 Rides Strong!

There is significant discussion today around access to healthcare, particularly for underserved women – and with good reason.  Studies show that access to care is often impeded by social determinants of health - a range of social, economic, political and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s health conditions and disparities.

Support our effort to provide lifesaving access to screening services to all  women in need!

Transportation has emerged as a notable barrier. Today, about 6 million people across the country are missing or delaying medical care because they lack transportation. Patients who report transportation access problems are about 2.5 times more likely to have a costly emergency department visit. Lack of such infrastructure is often only discussed in the context of rural communities. However, women in urban and suburban areas also experience persistent barriers to safe, accessible, and reliable transportation. This can disproportionately affect communities of color; with 55% of Black and 60% of Latinx cancer patients citing faulty public transportation as a major barrier to treatment. 

At the Brem Foundation to Defeat Breast Cancer, we work alongside local and national partners using a combination of education, access programs and advocacy to empower women to advocate for their own health and to increase access to essential screening and diagnostic services, many of which are out of reach for low-income populations. Study after study has shown that early detection of breast cancer, particularly when the cancer is small and has not spread, saves lives. Early screening can substantially reduce cancer incidence and mortality rates in patients, but early detection is not possible if women are unable to gain access to quality screening services.

Brem Takes Action to Remove Barriers to Healthcare

In 2019, Brem took decisive action to address this systemic barrier to breast cancer screening.

In partnership with Lyft, Brem launched Wheels for Women, the country's first and only free transportation program dedicated exclusively to breast cancer screenings and diagnostics.  Launched in the DC Metro area and now operating in Baltimore, the program opens doors for women to get the care they need and deserve – partnering with skilled patient navigators at local medical providers  to identify patients in need and arrange rides, removing transportation as a barrier to care. Patients are typically uninsured Medicare recipients living close to the poverty line, and in many cases facing significant language barriers. 

The program, which launched in 2019 with 3 partners, is now an active part of the cancer screening community with 14 medical provider partners throughout the DC Metro Area and Baltimore. 

In fact, in September 2022, Brem provided its 1,000th ride through the Lyft partnership!

A Milestone in Early Breast Cancer Detection

The Brem Foundation is proud of this milestone, a true reason for celebration. Yet, as the pandemic has dragged on, the challenge of accessing breast care for many without a safety-net has only mounted and the work can’t slow down. COVID has made clear that the need to remove obstacles to essential screenings and preventive healthcare is more urgent than ever. 

Further, Wheels for Women expansion plans are in the works for 2023, as we seek to touch as many women as possible with this lifesaving service.

Today’s complex health environment calls for creative, nimble approaches such as Wheels for Women. Brem will continue to innovate and strategically partner, breaking down barriers and ensuring that every woman has access to equitable breast care – regardless of her ability to pay.

In honor of Brem’s 1,000th ride through Wheels for Women, two generous supporters have challenged the Brem community to fund 360 rides for women in need! (PS - If we can fund these rides now through October 2022, donors will match them, making it round trip!)

Learn more and provide a $36 ride today!