Sage Advice Newsletter - Summer 2021

Sage - Minnesotas Cancer Screening Program

Sage Advice Newsletter

Hello Summer

Summer 2021


Woman holding a megaphone

New Training Videos Page Now on the Sage Website

The Sage Program is excited to offer a new virtual training opportunity for clinics! Sage is now offering a series of 5 trainings including:

  • Background on the Sage Program
  • Understanding Sage patient eligibility
  • Completing Sage paperwork
  • Following up on Abnormal Test Results
  • Getting paid for providing services

The videos are 5 to 8 minutes long and can be viewed on the new Sage Videos webpage.

Patient Forms

The Sage Data Entry & Billing unit is down several staff positions due to the state hiring freeze related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While screening behavior is returning to normal, Sage data entry is not back to normal capacity. Currently a full-time data entry position is posted on the state employment website and interviews are underway for a student data entry worker. At the time of this newsletter’s publishing, patient information is being entered for April dates of service. As we work through hiring additional staff, Sage providers can help by taking time to ensure that the correct information is filled in on patient forms and that the correct Encounter Number is shared with all related screening providers for the woman’s visit (mammogram facilities, labs, etc.). Thank you for your patience as we work to resume normal service.

Sage Regional Coordinator Update

Elizabeth Lando-King, Sage Regional Coordinator and Clinical Nurse specialist, is on an extended Leave of Absence. Please direct inquiries to Liz Wilson-Lopp, 651-202-5617 or


The Sage Screening Program is launching a monthly webinar series beginning September 14, 2021 from 2:00 PM– 3:30 PM. The webinars will include cancer education, Sage Program training, and a question and answer time. Registration details will be sent in August.


Eligibility Announcement

Sage Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program is Extending Expanded Age Eligibility

Sage will extend expanded age eligibility for program services through June 29, 2022, or until the number of women served through the program outpaces annual screening resources.

Sage will continue to provide payment for:

1. Cervical cancer screening services for women ages 21 to 64 (previously 40-64 years)

2. Breast cancer screening services for women ages 40 and older (previously 40-64 years)

Women under age 40 may still be screened for breast cancer if they have a family history or breast symptoms. Providers must submit the required Sage patient forms to be reimbursed for these services.  Patient forms with incomplete data will be returned to providers and claims will be denied. Successful payment for services starts with fully completed patient forms and consent. 

It is especially important that Sage providers continue to follow Sage announcements during this final year of the current five-year NBCCEDP grant. CDC may require Sage to stop screening in anticipation of the end of the funding cycle in June 2022.

Breast Cancer and Diversity

Health Equity and Sage Screening Programs

The Center for Disease Control defines health equity as follows: “Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential” and "no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” Health inequities are reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability, and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment.” The root cause of all health disparities lie within social determinants of health, which include:

  • Health Care Access and Quality
  • Education Access and Quality
  • Social and Community Context
  • Economic Stability
  • Neighborhood and Built Environment

The goal of Sage Screening Programs is to counter the impacts of social determinants of health, and to eradicate cancer-related health disparities among women. Sage is committed to saving lives though increasing breast and cervical cancer education and screening access for the undeserved. Health equity is foundational, and woven into the work that we do every day. Sage is tailored to be culturally competent and inclusive. Our demographic-specific screening recruitment outreach activities, wide variety of printed promotional materials, and bilingual appointment scheduling agents, exemplify Sage’s dedication to reaching vulnerable populations. It is both a privilege and honor to carry out the valuable work of serving women and saving lives, one screening at a time.

Sage Breast and Cervical Screening Paitients


“Equality is leaving the door open for anyone who has the means to approach it; equity is ensuring there is a pathway to that door for those who need it.” – Caroline Belden

Asaian Pacific Islander Women's Health Logo

Community Screening Events: Bringing Services to Patients

The Sage Screening Program has a long history of working with diverse communities to increase cancer screening rates. For many years Sage has worked with mobile mammography providers and clinics to bring mammogram screening to women in familiar settings, such as community clinics, churches and community organizations.

The Lao Assistance Center, a social service organization based in Minneapolis and serving the Southeast Asian community, has partnered with the Sage Program to offer breast cancer screening services to their community through a series of mobile mammography events. While cancer screening is a new venture for this organization, over the past year they have been very successful in serving women from the Vietnamese, Hmong, Lao, Cambodian, Karen and Bhutanese communities!

Their first event was in July of 2020 and the most recent was June 26, 2021. Through these events close to 200 women have been screened. The Lao Assistance Center will be holding a mobile mammogram event each month between April and October this year, and an average of 30 women were screened each day.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made accessing health care difficult for many, and bringing healthcare to a woman where she feels comfortable, and where she is able to access other needed services is increasing cancer screening in the SE Asian community. Women coming in for mammograms are reporting feeling very positive about the care they receive, enjoy the community aspect of the event, and appreciate the convenience of the location and the hours of the event.

Breast Cancer Education Association 20 Year Anniversary Logo

Breast Cancer Education Association – 20th Anniversary!

The mission of the Breast Cancer Education Association (BCEA) is to educate the community by providing support and information about detection, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.

Sage is delighted to partner with the BCEA, supporting their work and their annual conference, and excited to celebrate their 20 year anniversary. Founded in 2001 by survivors Ann Harris and Lois Joseph, the Breast Cancer Education Association (BCEA) is committed to educating the community by providing support and information about detection, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.

Since 2001, BCEA volunteers have been working tirelessly to educate and empower thousands of people whose lives are affected by breast cancer. At local community events, through educational webinars and at an inspiring ** annual conference, they are connecting people with support resources and sharing the latest information on breast cancer research, treatment options, nutrition and care. Survivors, family members and friends learn how to live as fully as possible with this disease as they bravely explore treatment options, incorporate emotional and lifestyle changes and manage the disease.

Recognizing that those in medically underserved communities are less likely to have recommended cancer screening tests and are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage cancer, BCEA is partnering with local organizations, including the Sage Program, the University of MN, and the Sisters Standing Up to Breast Cancer organization to increase the number of cancer screenings and to provide relevant education at community health fairs and other events. These joint efforts are enabling women from diverse communities to access cancer education and screening services.

** The only conference of its kind in the Twin Cities, renowned local and national experts will share the latest advancements in research, treatment and care in a supportive and inspiring environment. Registration is now open for this 10/2/21 conference. The day includes opportunities to connect with others and discover practical tools and resources for dealing with the challenges of surviving and living with breast cancer.

Who Should Attend?

The conference is designed to be relevant to anyone whose life may be affected by breast cancer – newly diagnosed, in treatment, survivors, caregivers, family members and health care professionals. CEU credits are offered for health care professionals and teachers, and a limited number of scholarships are available. To learn more, please visit

U of M Public Health Logo

Provider and Patient Opportunity: Participate in the University of Minnesota’s HPV Self-Sampling Awareness Interview and Survey

The University of Minnesota is conducting a study on HPV self-sampling, a newer cervical cancer screening tool. The University is seeking assistance to identify both providers and patients to participate in an interview and survey, respectively, that helps understand the level of awareness for this new tool.

Do you speak with women about cervical cancer screening? Do you treat patients that are age-appropriate for cervical cancer screening? If you answered yes to either question, we encourage you to help our University partner by completing their interview or recruiting your patients to complete the survey.

Patient recruitment materials for sites are available in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Somali.  Please note that the recruitment of BIPOC patients is prioritized. For more information on the survey or to sign up to be interviewed as a healthcare provider, please contact Serena Xiong at

All interviewees will be compensated with mailed $50 gift cards.


Process Outcome

Systems Change to Improve Screening for Breast, Cervical, and Colorectal Cancer

The CDC grants that fund MDH programs working to improve breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening in Minnesota are shifting focus from direct payments for screening services to enhancement of clinic operations (i.e., systems change, quality improvement, practice facilitation) to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening rates.

As we begin the fifth year of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (Sage Breast and Cervical Cancer Program) and the second year of the Colorectal Cancer Control Program (Sage Scopes Colorectal Cancer Program), our Clinic Systems Change Program will be working with a small group of clinics to implement key evidence-based interventions (EBIs) proven to improve cancer screening rates at the clinic or health system level.

There are four EBIs that clinics can chose to implement; two are provider-focused and two are patient-focused:

Evidence-based Interventions (EBIs)

  • Provider-focused
    • Provider assessment and feedback
    • Provider reminders
  • Patient-focused
    • Patient reminders
    • Reducing structural barriers

Partner clinics will implement or enhance implementation of at least two EBIs. Combining patient-focused interventions with provider-focused interventions may best improve screening rates. Future newsletter articles will describe the EBIs in more detail. For more information on our Clinic Systems Change Program, please contact: