Baton Rouge, La. – Some of the primary obstacles patients face following a cancer diagnosis include how they will get to and from treatment and where they will stay if they have to travel for care. That hurdle is being made easier at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center thanks to an $85,000 grant from the American Cancer Society. These dollars will be used across Cancer Center locations throughout southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.
This grant will make travel for treatment easier for under‐resourced patients, who are sometimes under‐insured or uninsured altogether. The average distance traveled for patients in need of transportation assistance is 40 miles. Through this grant, Mary Bird Perkins will provide at least 1,000 patients with transportation assistance, which includes gas cards, taxi rides, transit services and access to rideshare support, such as Uber and Lyft.
“Cancer patients already have enough on their plates when going through treatment,” said Angela Hammett, director, cancer navigation and support services, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “By providing financial support to get them to and from their treatments, that’s one less thing for them to worry about.”
This past year, the Cancer Center, across all of its locations, provided various forms of direct transportation assistance to nearly 3,000 patients, using previous American Cancer Society funding.
“This grant will go to immediate use,” Hammett added. “When transportation barriers are removed, patients can focus solely on treatment, which can lead to better outcomes.”
Beyond transportation, a portion of the American Cancer Society grant will go toward lodging assistance for 60 patients who live more than 60 miles away from their treatment location. It is expected that this funding will allow for the expansion of lodging assistance to all Mary Bird Perkins facilities throughout southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.
“Financial hardship should not play a factor in the treatment a patient receives,” Hammett said. “Lodging assistance, up to five nights, can be provided to certain patients. That is just one more barrier we are able to remove, thanks in part to this grant.” For more information on available patient navigation services, visit marybird.org/services/patient‐navigation‐and‐social‐services/.
Photo Caption (l-r): Chloe Collins, senior development manager, American Cancer Society – Louisiana; Errin Viguerie, executive director, American Cancer Society – Louisiana; Amy Williams, cancer support strategic partnerships manager, American Cancer Society – Louisiana; Angela Hammett, director, cancer navigation and support services, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center; Jonas Fontenot, Ph.D., MBA, chief operating officer and chief of physics, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center; Matthew Valliere, chief executive officer, CareSouth.
About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 50 years. The cancer care organization provides care at eight centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma, Gonzales, and Natchez, Mississippi, and its service area encompasses southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi regions. Mary Bird Perkins has a strategic partnership
with OneOncology and the largest radiation and medical oncology groups from across the area including exclusive partnerships with Southeastern Louisiana Radiation Oncology Group, which provides radiation therapy throughout Mary Bird Perkins’ service areas, Northshore Oncology Associates, serving St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, specifically the communities of Covington and Slidell and Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates, which services the Greater Baton Rouge area. For more information, please visit marybird.org.