NYC official seeks more access to DBT

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has called on New York City and the state of New York to expand access to digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT).

In a Tuesday press conference, James requested that NYC Health + Hospitals invest in DBT technology and for the state to add DBT to its Medicaid benefits package. She noted that while DBT technology is widely available in private hospitals in New York City, it's only available at one hospital in the NYC Health + Hospitals network. Even though DBT is covered by Medicare and many private insurers, it is not currently covered by New York Medicaid.

James also released a report that highlighted the need for DBT, which is not widely available to many low-income New Yorkers and New Yorkers of color -- the very women who may need DBT the most, as black women are more likely than white women to die from breast cancer, both nationally and in New York City.

In addition, Hispanic women have the lowest participation rate for regular mammography exams among any ethnic group in the country, and low-income women have higher death rates from breast cancer.

"We have a technology that could save lives, and it should be made available to all women," James said in a statement. "Putting DBT in our public hospitals would not only increase early detection among all women, but it would go a long way in closing the racial and economic survival gaps among women with breast cancer."

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