ASGE Selects CHCS & MedChi to Administer Projects to Increase Follow-up Colonoscopy Rate

ASGE has selected Community Health Care Systems, Inc. (CHCS), a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Georgia, and the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) to administer developmental projects that are designed to increase the follow-up colonoscopy rate for uninsured and underinsured people with a positive or abnormal stool-based colorectal cancer (CRC) screening test.

“We are both proud and excited to be working with these exceptional organizations on this crucial project. Indeed, this project has the potential to save countless lives,” says ASGE President Jennifer Christie, MD, FASGE. “CHCS and MedChi have excellent reputations as well as proven and demonstrable track records of working with underserved populations.”

Dr. Christie adds, “This project is going to address a critical need because the number of underserved patients who have a positive or abnormal CRC screening test result getting a timely follow-up colonoscopy is unacceptably low, keeping in mind that colonoscopy is the most sensitive test to detect and prevent colorectal cancer.”

CHCS CEO Carla Belcher explains, “As an FQHC that cares for underserved patients facing considerable challenges, ASGE’s project is totally aligned with our mission. It’s a great honor to participate in this project, which we believe is going to make a tremendous impact in improving coordination and accessibility of care for some of the most vulnerable patients we serve in middle Georgia.”

MedChi CEO Gene Ransom agrees, saying, “ASGE’s project is a natural extension of our mission and an important public health initiative that presents a unique opportunity to reach a diverse demographic and geographic patient base across Maryland. We are thrilled to participate in this important and innovative effort.” MedChi will be working with physicians in a mix of urban and rural settings in Maryland.

In the next year, CHCS and MedChi will each identify and assist hundreds of uninsured and underinsured patients to get screened for colorectal cancer using a stool-based DNA test. CHCS and MedChi will support these patients with “navigators” who will guide them throughout the full continuum of care. Plus, these patients will receive this care at no cost to them.

ASGE will use the results of this project to develop a roadmap and model public policy that can be used in other states.

ASGE, CHCS and MedChi will be collaborating with key stakeholders, including physicians and allied health care professionals, patient navigators, legislators and regulators, state and local advocacy organizations and community leaders.

This project is mainly funded by an unrestricted grant from Exact Sciences, with additional support from Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and Sebela Pharmaceuticals’ Braintree Laboratories affiliate.

View more details on ASGE’s CRC Screening Project.

About Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures allow the gastroenterologist to visually inspect the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach and duodenum) and the lower bowel (colon and rectum) through an endoscope, a thin, flexible device with a lighted end and a powerful lens system. Endoscopy has been a major advance in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. For example, the use of endoscopes allows the detection of ulcers, cancers, polyps and sites of internal bleeding. Through endoscopy, tissue samples (biopsies) may be obtained, areas of blockage can be opened and active bleeding can be stopped. Polyps in the colon can be removed, which has been shown to prevent colon cancer.

About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Since its founding in 1941, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has been dedicated to advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence and innovation in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with almost 16,000 members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit and for more information and to find a qualified doctor in your area.


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