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Direct/Open Access: Making It Easier to Schedule Screening Colonoscopy

Direct & Open Access Phone Number - Call 413-395-7606

In an effort to make the scheduling of screening colonoscopies easier for patients and their physicians, Berkshire Medical Center has a Direct Access program through its Endoscopy Department. Direct Access will allow patients or their physicians to schedule a screening colonoscopy by calling the BMC Endoscopy Department directly. Previously, a patient would first be scheduled with an Endoscopist, a physician specializing in Gastroenterology, who would then schedule the patient for the procedure at the hospital.

In Berkshire County, only 60% of people over the age of 50 have had their screening colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is recommended for anyone 50 and older and is the most important test to help prevent colon cancer or to detect it early. When found early, colon cancer is treatable.

Direct Access Program Details
Under the new program, when the patient or physician schedules the procedure directly through the Endoscopy Department, the patient will be booked with the Endoscopist of the patient or physician's choice or with the next available Endoscopist in the rotation if there is no specific choice. The BMC Endoscopy Department will also coordinate preparation and paperwork in order to make the process easier for the patient and the physician's office.

Open Access Details
A second key component of the new program is Open Access, where the patient will have a pre-screening interview with an Endoscopy nurse at BMC, and if the patient meets open access criteria, they can now skip the previously required pre-visit to the Endoscopist and go directly to BMC's Endoscopy Department on the day of procedure. In order for patients to qualify for Open Access, they need to be in good health.

For Open Access, the education and preparation work for the patient will be coordinated by the Endoscopy nurse, and the history and physical can be furnished by the primary care physician, the Endoscopist on the day of the procedure or by BMC's pre-surgical practitioner at the hospital's Outpatient Imaging and Testing Center, 610 North Street, Pittsfield, free of charge. If the patient is not a good candidate for Open Access, or prefers to see the Endoscopist before the procedure, the BMC Endoscopy Department staff will schedule a timely appointment with the Endoscopist for the patient.

Insurance Co-Pay or Other Financial Issues? We Can Help
For patients with financial barriers associated with screening colonoscopy, BMC will assist in providing access to available programs to help the patient obtain insurance or coverage for the cost of the procedure, and also offers a discount self-pay rate. Patients who are income eligible may also qualify for our Screening Colonoscopy Patient Fund.

Contact Information
For more information or to schedule a screening colonoscopy, contact the BMC Endoscopy Department at 413-395-7606.

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