El Centro Inc. 0

Ni Uno Más! Campaign

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Dear Dr. Roy A. Jensen, Director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Bob Page, President and CEO of The University of Kansas Health System, & Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli, Director of the National Cancer Institute,

We are writing today with this community petition letter to request that The University of Kansas Cancer Center (UKCC) change their financial assistance policies to allow equitable access to cancer care for ALL in our community.

El Centro is a welcoming center for Latino immigrants and families with 46 years of serving the Latino community in the areas of early childhood education, community health, economic empowerment, and advocacy and engagement. At El Centro, we believe that all individuals, regardless of language, place of birth or documentation status, deserve to be fully accepted and belong in communities where they live, work, play and pray. We advocate for ALL in our community to access healthcare services they need not just to live and survive, but to thrive. However, we know from our years of experience working directly with our community that not all have the same access to healthcare, especially cancer care.

In 2016, we noticed more clients coming to us seeking assistance with finding a place they could go for cancer treatment, as they were told they could not be seen at UKCC. Other community partners had the same issue and were concerned about where these individuals could go for care. Thus, we formed the Cancer Care Access Committee with the purpose of addressing the barriers that were created because of your inequitable policies. Since that time, we have attempted to address these barriers with by doing the following:

  • 2016 – Current: Navigating clients through our Health Navigation Program to oncology services at Central Care Cancer Center in Emporia, KS (105 miles away) and University Health in Kansas City, MO (across state lines).
  • August 24th, 2018: We requested a meeting with your System Vice President of Revenue Cycle to discuss our community’s concerns about financial assistance policies that were creating barriers to accessing cancer care.
  • June 5th, 2019: We followed up on our prior meeting, providing many solutions to resolve the issues with your policies, to which we were told this would only open the doors to “medical tourists.”
  • July 11th, 2019: We hosted a community forum to highlight the stories of those impacted by your policies and discuss community-wide solutions through collaboration. While we invited you to attend, not one single employee from UKCC or UKHS attended.
  • January 21st, 2020: We joined your Within Reach, Quest Action Team to seek your Comprehensive Cancer Center NCI designation, which we were invited to join but later asked to leave, as we voiced our concerns about your policies and the barriers our community experiences and were told “that is not the purpose of this team.”
  • May 2022 – Current: We created our ¡Ni Uno Más! (Not One More!) grassroots health equity campaign as a member of the Kansas City Health Equity Learning and Action Network, to build public awareness and will to advocate for policy change at UKCC.

As your policies still have not changed and we continue to see community members coming to us for assistance because they cannot access cancer care from our own regional cancer center, many referred to us by your own Financial Counselors and staff, we are demanding change now. These inequitable barriers our community faces because of your policies only add to the disparities in health outcomes that you should be seeking to address and make better.

We demand that all policies and guidelines remove asking patients about their immigration status as an eligibility requirement. We ask that the policies are equitable, transparent, and made public for all to see. We demand that all levels of your staff be trained in these policies and implement them consistently across the organization.

Ni Uno Más. Enough is enough. It’s time for equitable cancer care access now!

Sincerely,
¡Ni Uno Más! Champions

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