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WISEWOMAN Program Helps Direct Care To Women In Need

Posted Jun 17th, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team

Taking preventative measures is easily one of the best methods to reduce the cost of your healthcare related needs. In women over the age of 40, the risk of Cardiovascular Disease increases so significantly that one out of every three women have some form of Cardiovascular Disease and over 52% of deaths caused by it are women (WISEWOMAN). Because of these figures, all women should be screened regularly for Cardiovascular Disease and  plenty of other women's health related issue to lower their risk. Unfortunately, not all of them can afford to do so.

Woman like Bobbi Ream of Springfield, Missouri, didn't think twice about having health insurance or visiting a physician for preventative screenings. "I'm at an awkward age where I'm not ready for Medicare but health insurance is -- I haven't even priced it lately," said Ream (, 6/17). With the number of uninsured and underinsured continuing to rise, woman age 40 to 64 are placing themselves in serious danger by forgoing these visits. But what solutions are available to these women that can help get them the medical attention they need?

The Center for Disease Control has made the effort to improve the quality of care and frequency that women age 40 to 64 can receive. To see a medical professional, the options for these women were to visit their own physician and pay a hefty fee due to a lack of insurance, visit a free clinic and receive free aid, or visit a community clinic and pay only what they can afford. To provide a greater quality of care, the Center for Disease Control launched their WISEWOMAN program aimed specifically at this demographic.

WISEWOMAN stands for Well–Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation, and in the 13 years since its launch, it has made its way to 15 states. Women who visit a WISEWOMAN location can get their cholesterol and blood pressure tested, along with regular visits to the physician for little to no cost. These centers provide programs to aid women in lowering their blood pressure and cholesterol through activities that are both fun and healthy.  The goal is to make women nationwide more aware of the risks they face from cardiac related disease and illness, while showing them simple solutions to improve their condition.

Programs like WISEWOMAN allow for more doctors to feel comfortable directing their patients towards further treatment and preventative care. Dr. Chan Ngo, a physician at the Jordan Valley Health Center, one of the 15 WISEWOMAN locations, said that "It is very frustrating when, as a physician, you know what you want to recommend for your patients and they can't do it because of financial constraints," (, 6/17). Unfortunately, these programs don't cover prescription medications. As the requirements for women to take advantage of WISEWOMAN involves them having little to no health insurance, physicians should be recommending their patients to look into patient assistance programs and prescription discount cards. While some of the prevention can be done without the need for prescription medication, many cardiovascular related conditions do require medications.

The ability for a program to provide for a specific need that isn't being properly met is very beneficial to everyone. But if a physician was weary about recommending their patient seek additional assistance from a specialist due to their inability to afford it, chances are they're doing the same with prescription medications. Free solutions are available to enhance these programs and the more physicians who provide information for patient assistance programs and prescription discount cards, the more patients benefit from not going without.

To find out where the closest WISEWOMAN location is near you, click here and search by state.