ECMC Breast Health Program Honored as Top 10 Submission By America’s Essential Hospitals in VITAL 2020 Population Health Category

BUFFALO, NY—Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation’s Breast Health Program was recently honored by America’s Essential Hospitals as a Top 10 submission nationally. The VITAL 2020 Awards Committee stated that this program was “receiving high marks and extensive consideration” for its Increasing Breast Health Equity via Primary Care Navigation program in the Population Health category.

ECMC President and CEO Thomas J, Quatroche Jr., Ph.D., said, “We are appreciative of America’s Essential Hospitals for this recognition. The results of this initiative to increase mammography screening highlight the dedication of ECMC’s primary care staff and Western New York Breast Health for their commitment to improving patient outcomes and access. Ultimately, this initiative has saved lives.”

As of 2016, the breast cancer mortality rate in Erie County, New York, exceeded that of the state by 4.7 percent.* With support from the American Cancer Society Change Grant program, ECMC examined barriers preventing women from getting mammograms. A survey of patients showed transportation to be the single largest barrier to obtaining health care. Further complicating matters, Western New York Breast Health previously only offered mammogram services through its Mobile Mammography Coach, and screening results were not automatically entered into patient records; instead, results were often mailed, called in, faxed, or otherwise electronically sent to the main health care campus.

In October 2018, an ECMC Foundation and Western New York Brest Health initiative began to increase mammography screening in primary care clinics by monitoring provider ordering compliance, tracking contact attempts for all patient reminders, and conducting training for all providers and staff on motivational interviewing. Further, transportation barriers were addressed through the Mobile Mammography Coach and a collaboration with a local taxi service.

As a result of the initiative, ECMC and Western New York Breast Health saw a nearly 12 percent increase in mammography screenings over a yearlong period, including four potential lives saved—four patients returned abnormal screenings and were later confirmed to have breast cancer. In addition, the project resulted in several important improvements to internal processes to meet patients’ needs.

Information about ECMC Breast Health Services and the Mobile Mammography Unit is available at (716) 632-7465 and

ECMC Primary Care Services including Breast Health Care is provided through the ECMC Family Health Center at (716) 831-8612 and the ECMC Grider Family Health Center at (716) 898-4449 and at pediatrics/.

*New York State Cancer Registry breast cancer data (2016):