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HealthPartners recognized for colorectal cancer screening efforts

MN Chapter of American Cancer Society names HealthPartners CRC Organization of the Year

March 29, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Colon Cancer Coalition has named HealthPartners as the CRC Organization of the Year for its exceptional efforts surrounding colorectal cancer screenings.

Each year, 2,500 Minnesotans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 850 die from it. Screenings are recommended for colorectal cancer starting at age 45 for African Americans and American Indians, and at age 50 for all other races and ethnicities. In 2009, HealthPartners data showed that only 43 percent of patients of color were screened for colon cancer compared to 69 percent of white patients. In 2017, both screening rates improved, with 67 percent of patients of color getting screened, which closed the disparity gap to 11 percent.

Early detection can be life-saving, so in 2017, both HealthPartners Medical Group and Park Nicollet created a pilot project that carried on the organization’s efforts to increase screenings. The project used FIT kits to boost the number of patients being screened. FIT stands for Fecal Immunochemical Test. The stool sample test kits allow patients to send stool samples by mail, potentially avoiding time off of work, a trip to the doctor or a more invasive colonoscopy.

  • In January 2017, four Park Nicollet clinics were identified as pilot sites for the project. These sites were provided lists of all of their patients between the ages of 50 and 75 that had never completed a colorectal cancer screening. Using that information, over 6,000 patients were sent a FIT kit. About 25 percent of the kits sent were returned. Overall each site saw about a 6-point increase in overall screening results.
  • Starting in September 2017, HealthPartners clinics did a variation of the project that was specifically designed to reduce the disparity gap by targeting a very specific group. FIT kits were sent to only patients of color between the ages of 50 and 75 that had never been screened for colon cancer. African Americans and Native Americans that were 46 and older were included. In this part of the project, about 3,000 kits were sent out, also with about 25 percent returned. And the clinics saw a 3.5-point boost in results in a three-month span.

Overall, HealthPartners is proud of the achievements that were made in improving colorectal cancer screening in 2017, and specifically in the screening of over 70 percent of the eligible patient of color population. We are honored to be named the CRC Organization of the Year. And we would also like to congratulate Greg Fedio, a clinic project manager for Park Nicollet Primary Care, who was one of two CRC Innovator of the Year award winners.

About Regions Hospital

Regions Hospital is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. Regions Hospital is a Level I Trauma Center serving adults and children in Minnesota and western Wisconsin for more than 140 years. As a private, non-profit teaching hospital, Regions Hospital provides outstanding care in neurosciences, heart surgery, cardiology, oncology, emergency care, burn care, orthopedic care, mental illness and more. For more information, visit

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