Anthem Blue Cross Foundation helps grant breast care technology to Valley

A grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is helping Community Regional Medical Center bring the highest breast care technology to downtown Fresno.

Anthem Blue Cross gifted $50,000 to help the academic regional medical center acquire a digital mammography unit. Digital mammograms are performed similar to traditional ones, but replace X-ray film with digital images, allowing for faster procedures, more patient comfort and clearer and more accurate readings for women in a region where most Valley counties have been designated by the federal government as medically underserved.

“The key to success in beating breast cancer is early detection,” said Dr. Susan Barrows, a radiologist with Community Medical Imaging. “The best tool that we have for early detection is mammography. The best mammography that we have is digital.”

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation focuses its funding on initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to reduce the number of uninsured as well as on organizations and nonprofits that promote the Healthy Generations Program, an initiative targeting specific diseases and conditions.

Community Medical Centers’ board of trustees has approved additional funds to complete the purchase.

Board member Mark Borba, who’s managed family farming operations in Riverdale for more than 30 years, gave a gift to tip off the hospital’s fundraising effort. Borba’s wife was diagnosed twice with breast cancer, the first time in the early 1980s.

“It was only through the excellence of the diagnostics and also the treatment that she received that she not only survived that one, but also survived a second bout a few years later,” Borba said. “It kind of brought home to me that there was a need for focusing on that issue.”

Community is the largest provider of medical services in one of the most economically and demographically challenged areas of the country. Community Regional serves as the region’s “safety net” hospital, providing $137.1 million in uncompensated services to the medically underserved in fiscal year 2007-2008.

This story was reported by Eddie Hughes. He can be reached at