American Cancer Society, Color Health team up to boost cancer screenings for employees

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and Color Health, a platform for large-scale care delivery, are teaming up to provide access to convenient and accessible cancer screenings through employers and unions.

More than 150 million Americans that receive care through an employer or union are eligible to access the Cancer Prevention and Screening Program, if their organizations enroll to participate. The offerings will include at-home screenings, care navigation services, care advocacy and educational resources. The partnership will also give employers and unions data on their employee or member screening rates. 

Cancer is among the highest healthcare costs for employers. The main way to tackle cancer is with screening and prevention, but accessibility remains a challenge. People might have coverage but not know about it or they might not be able to take time off to get a screening. 

“People assume that inequities are primarily a factor of lack of education and lack of priorities,” Othman Laraki, co-founder and CEO of Color Health, told Fierce Healthcare. “And that is, in my experience, patently false. It is almost entirely driven by lack of access.” 

COVID-19 further reduced breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings. While many employers and unions provide coverage for cancer screenings, barriers to access are expected to contribute to an estimated 1.9 million cancer cases and more than 600,000 deaths this year.

The program will offer four different types of home testing kits for various cancers and genetics at offices. “Having an on-site or in-person access modality dramatically increases uptake,” Laraki said. “Every step in reduction of friction increases access and utilization.” 

Additional wraparound services like care navigation will help ensure people receive referrals when needed, find providers that are in-network, get help with transportation and timely follow-ups.

"Ending cancer as we know it, for everyone, requires collaboration, cooperation and integrated work plans that address the entire cancer continuum—from prevention and detection, to treatment and survivorship," Karen E. Knudsen, Ph.D., CEO for ACS, said in a press release. "The core of our partnership with Color Health is about saving lives and ultimately fulfilling our vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone.” 

A portion of Color Health proceeds from the partnership will help support ACS’s Hope Lodge communities that offer cancer patients a free and safe place to stay if treatment is far from home. 

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify that employers and unions will need to opt in to participate.