The Health Department’s NYC Community Cares Project (CCP) provides all aspects of colonoscopy screenings free of charge to uninsured patients referred from primary care sites. CCP facilitates partnerships between endoscopy centers and primary care centers, such as Community Health Centers. This collaboration offers a unique opportunity to improve colorectal cancer screening rates and tackle persisting health disparities for uninsured New Yorkers.
Since August 2013, thousands of uninsured New Yorkers have completed colonoscopy screenings through CCP. Many of these patients had adenomas removed through CCP, potentially preventing cancers.
If you are an uninsured New York City resident and would like to get a free colonoscopy, contact a CCP primary care provider (PDF).
CCP leverages a Certificate of Need requirement for endoscopy centers, which considers the public need for services. When centers apply for licensure, they must have a policy outlining how they will provide charitable care to patients who do not have insurance and are unable to pay. Endoscopy and primary care centers both sign a “Memorandum of Understanding” agreement to help solidify their relationship.
In CCP’s model, primary care physicians directly refer medically eligible, uninsured patients to their partnered endoscopy center for a colonoscopy screening. After receiving a direct referral (PDF), the endoscopy center provides the free screening, as well as free anesthesia and pathology services. This direct referral process bypasses a gastroenterologist consult for medically eligible patients, reducing patient wait periods for screening.
Primary care providers and free-standing ambulatory surgery (endoscopy) centers located in the city can join this program by emailing CCP@health.nyc.gov.
The New York State Cancer Services Program (CSP) provides colon cancer screening to uninsured New Yorkers ages 45 to 75. Visit the New York State Cancer Services Program or call 1-866-442-CANCER to connect directly to the program in your area to find out if you’re eligible.
If you do not have insurance, you can also call 311 and ask about colon cancer screening. Operators can connect you to a New York City Health + Hospitals location, where you can find out if you qualify for low-cost or no-cost colon cancer screening through one of their programs.