What is Women’s Way?
Women’s Way may provide a way to pay for breast and cervical cancer screenings for eligible North Dakota women.
- In 1990, Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, which launched funding for the national breast and cervical cancer screening program.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) distributes the money and oversees the national program.
- North Dakota received funding in 1993 for planning and system development.
- The North Dakota program was named Women’s Way and began offering screening services in 1997.
- Women’s Way is administered through the North Dakota Department of Health and local public health offices.
- Limited diagnostic procedures are also available to women enrolled in Women’s Way.
- In 2001, the North Dakota state legislature passed and Governor Hoeven signed legislation allowing uninsured Women’s Way clients who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer to access treatment coverage through Medicaid – Women’s Way Treatment program.
National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
For more than 25 years, CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) has provided women access to breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. Women’s Way is the North Dakota Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and has been receiving funding from the NBCCEDP since 1997.
Through the NBCCEDP, CDC helps low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women gain access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening, diagnostic, and treatment services. NBCCEDP also provides patient navigation services to help women overcome barriers and get timely access to quality care.
In addition to funding screening and diagnostic services for eligible women, the NBCCEDP focuses not only on the behavior choices of individuals, but also on factors that influence those choices at the interpersonal, organizational, community, and policy levels. Therefore, the NBCCEDP supports use of population-based approaches to improve systems that increase high-quality breast and cervical cancer screening. These include:
- Implementing evidence-based interventions in health systems
- Connecting women in the community to screening services
- Informing policies that increase access to cancer screening
North Dakota Statewide Cancer Registry
North Dakota Statewide Cancer Registry (NDSCR) collects information about new cases, cancer treatment, and cancer deaths on all North Dakota residents who are diagnosed and treated for cancer. Providing complete and accurate data for evaluating the cancer burden on the state’s residents is one of the goals of NDSCR.
Women's Way utilizes cancer registry data to inform program planning, implementation, and resource allocation. Women's Way also annually merges program data with NDSCR data. This process involves exporting cancer diagnoses from our Cancer Screening and Tracking (CaST) database to NDSCR to link cancers diagnosed for women who received NBCCEDP services to the statewide cancer registry to collect cancer stage data for the Minimum Data Element (MDE) submission to the CDC.
The program is operated by the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences on behalf of the North Dakota Department of Health.
Yun (Lucy) Zheng, MD, CTR
North Dakota Statewide Cancer Registry
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
University of North Dakota
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
“Women’s Way is a program that ensures that all women in North Dakota receive a basic level of preventive health care. Through community-based program efforts, uninsured and underinsured women receive screening services for breast and cervical cancer. In addition, all women in the state are exposed to messages about breast and cervical health. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota supports Women’s Way in its comprehensive approach to reducing death and disability from breast and cervical cancer in North Dakota.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota has been a close associate of Women's Way and has served as their third-party administrator since 1997. In this capacity, they accept and process medical claims from enrolled Women's Way providers and facilities to ensure timely payment of services provided to enrolled participants.
Women’s Way is working with NDQuits and North Dakota Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program to promote healthy, tobacco-free lifestyles. Smoking and the use of tobacco products cause cancer in many parts of the body. Smoking is also associated with an increased risk for cervical cancer.
When a woman enrolls in Women’s Way, she is assessed for tobacco use and offered information about quitting and a referral to NDQuits, North Dakota’s tobacco cessation program. NDQuits offers free services to North Dakota residents to help them quit using tobacco. Here you’ll find several free tobacco cessation programs to help you quit and stay quit – your way. www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits.
There is more than one way to quit tobacco. No single method of quitting works for everyone. NDQuits offers several free options so you can find the way that works best for you. All NDQuits services include free counseling, advice and support and free nicotine replacement products for those who qualify.
Medicaid coverage for FDA-Approved Nicotine Cessation Medication
Effective January 1, 2020 – Nicotine cessation products will no longer require prior authorization. Patients are still strongly encouraged to sign up for counseling through NDQuits as nicotine cessation is significantly more successful with a counseling component than with medication alone. Patient must be compliant with treatment. Chantix treatment can be extended to 24 weeks of continuous treatment if patient is abstinent.
Community Healthcare Association of the Dakotas (CHAD)
The Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas (CHAD) is a non-profit membership organization that serves as the Primary Care Association for North Dakota and South Dakota, supporting community health centers (CHCs) in their mission to provide access to health care for all Dakotans regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. CHAD works with health center members and other community leaders and partners to enhance access to affordable, high-quality health care and to find solutions for expanding health care services in areas of the Dakotas that need it most.
Women's Way is actively engaged with North Dakota community health centers to help increase the utilization of proven and effective community and clinical interventions aimed at improving access to breast and cervical cancer screening and follow-up. This partnership not only helps with access to screening services but also helps facilitate completion of cancer screenings for women. Working in coordination with other partners, Women's Way also works to build the capacity of community health centers to provide patient navigation and coordination of care.
For more than 30 years, CHAD has advanced the efforts of CHCs through training, technical assistance, education and advocacy. Currently, CHAD supports nine CHCs across North Dakota and South Dakota by providing a variety of resources to enhance key areas of operations, including clinical, human resources, finance, outreach and enabling, marketing and advocacy. https://www.communityhealthcare.net/
CHAD builds and fosters strong partnerships with national, state and local stakeholders to advance the work and mission of community health centers across the Dakotas, and impact the health of families, communities and populations across both states. Collaboration, team work, and shared goals and results are central to our partnerships and affiliations, supporting our efforts to increase health care access and improve health outcomes among diverse populations.
ACS American Cancer Society
The North Dakota American Cancer Society and Women’s Way have different missions yet one goal – to detect breast and cervical cancer in early stages in order to reduce cancer mortality. Both organizations focus on education and early detection.
Women’s Way provides breast and cervical cancer screening to eligible women, and the American Cancer Society addresses the needs of breast and cervical cancer patients. Both organizations collaborate on several projects that educate and challenge women to bring information and action back to their community. For cancer information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call 1-800-ACS-2345.
Reach to Recovery (RTR) is the American Cancer Society (ACS) program for breast cancer information and support. All RTR volunteers are breast cancer survivors trained to visit with people who have a concern about breast cancer, including women who are newly diagnosed or who already have begun breast cancer treatment.
The partnership between Women’s Way and the Reach to Recovery program is very complementary. Women’s Way provides screening for eligible clients, and RTR is available to visit with anyone who requests a visit, whether or not she has a positive result on her mammogram. RTR volunteers may be called at any time during the screening continuum to offer support and information to the Women’s Way client.
The ACS and Women’s Way are strong partners, each enhancing the other’s efforts. If breast cancer is detected during a Women’s Way screening, RTR may be contacted to give support, information and direction.
Comprehensive Cancer Control
The North Dakota Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control staff works with state stakeholders (North Dakota Cancer Coalition (NDCC) members and other partners) in promotion of a common vision for comprehensive cancer prevention and control, implementation of the North Dakota Cancer Control Plan and utilization of available resources by:
- Supporting the work of the NDCC members and state partners to implement activities from the North Dakota Cancer Control Plan.
- Developing and maintaining communication channels by sharing information received from the Centers for Disease Control, other national cancer partners and organizations within the state.
- Integrating activities and networking with other state programs.
- Identifying data sources and data gaps.
- Analyzing and utilizing data to define the cancer problem.
- Identifying and utilizing existing activities and strategies in the public and private sectors for prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.
- Identifying and providing resources to serve North Dakotans, in particular priority populations.
- Facilitating NDCC member and partner education.
- Evaluating program effectiveness.
The North Dakota Cancer Coalition
The North Dakota Cancer Coalition is made up of partners such as Women’s Way from across the state who work together with the common goal of reducing the incidence and impact of cancer among North Dakotans. North Dakota Cancer Coalition partners work together in implementing the North Dakota’s Cancer Control Plan.
For more information about the North Dakota Cancer Coalition, go to www.ndcancercoalition.org.
Last reviewed 9/23/2020