S.F. Hit With Delays for Mammograms; New HIV Effort in the Works
Wait times for mammograms at San Francisco General Hospital have increased dramatically because of problems the hospital is having recruiting a radiologist that specializes in reading mammograms, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Problems with the hospital's mobile mammogram unit, called the Mammovan, have exacerbated the waits.
Roland Pickens, the senior associate administrator who oversees the breast cancer center at S.F. General, said that wait times are 128 days for women who feel a lump in their breast and 300 days for women requesting precautionary mammograms.
Mitch Katz, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, emphasized that those wait times are for women with Medi-Cal or other private insurance coverage who could seek mammograms elsewhere.Â According to Katz, homeless women and others without other treatment options can receive scans within 14 days if they feel a lump and can undergo precautionary mammograms within 25 days.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Mark Wilson, chief of radiology at S.F. General and a UC-San Francisco faculty member, said the backlog should be resolved by Sept. 30 once the Mammovan is fixed and a full-time radiologist is hired.
A prospective candidate for the radiologist position could start work in July (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/8).
This month, San Francisco is launching a two-year pilot project aimed at identifying HIV infections closer to when they occur, the Chronicle reports.Â
The effort will focus on expanding HIV testing for high-risk populations in hopes of alerting people to new infections soon after transmission when they are most virulent. Â
The program is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
Another effort set to get under way in San Francisco will focus on curbing HIV transmission among transgender women.The San Francisco AIDS Foundation is funding both efforts at a cost of about $400,000 (Fernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.