March 12, 2022 would have been John Andretti’s 59th Birthday. March also happens to be Colon Cancer Awareness month. To honor John’s legacy, his family started the CheckIt4Andretti Charitable Foundation forging a unique partnership model with NE Digestive Health in Concord, NC and the Free and Charitable Clinics of North Carolina.
The partnership provides a seamless way to identify at-risk, uninsured or underinsured patients in need of colon cancer screening and provide them with the care they need at no cost. The way the partnership works seems simple, but it takes a lot of dedicated, hard work by the Free Clinic staff and the generous support of the doctors at NE Digestive Health.
First, the patients at the Free Clinic are pre-screened. They must meet insurance and income requirements to begin with. The Clinic doctors and nurses then determine who qualifies for colonoscopy based on age and risk factors. The Clinic refers patients who meet their guidelines to NE Digestive Health.
Next, the doctors and nurses at NE Digestive review the patient records and physical exam to determine if a colonoscopy can be safely performed at their outpatient facility. Once a patient is medically approved, they are scheduled for their procedure. Sometimes, polyps are found and need to be removed. Other times, a biopsy might be needed. The doctors at NE Digestive Health are able to handle whatever is needed during the colonoscopy. Once the pathology report comes back, they let the patient know if everything is ok or if follow-up is needed.
Every patient is treated with the same care and dignity regardless of whether they come from a private doctor’s office or from the Free Clinics. They are treated by the same physicians and use the same state-of-the-art facilities.
CheckIt4Andretti and NE Digestive Health negotiated a partnership agreement that benefits the underserved residents of the area. NE Digestive Health will perform 10 colonoscopies free of charge each year. After the initial 10 colonoscopies, NE Digestive will provide colonoscopies to patients referred by the Free Clinics.
That’s where donors and CheckIt4Andretti make a huge impact. CheckIt4Andretti picks up the bill for the negotiated price. The patient doesn’t have to worry about a costly medical expense. They can focus on getting their procedure and getting well.
Since the first CheckIt4Andretti sponsored colonoscopy was done in March 2022, more than 30 patients have been served, dozens of polyps have been removed and many lives have been touched.
Dr. Vinay Patel of NE Digestive Health thanked the Foundation saying that it “provided an opportunity to save lives and honor John’s legacy at the same time.” Krista Woolly, Executive Director of Community Care Clinic of Rowan County, also expressed appreciation in an email to Nancy Andretti stating, “I personally know that several of our patients have been SO VERY grateful for this opportunity because of colon cancer that runs in their families.”
Nancy, Jarett, Olivia and Amelia, as well as the entire CheckIt4Andretti Board of Directors, are grateful for the hard work of Dr. Patel, Krista Woolly and all their staff. Their dedication is helping to ensure that John’s legacy lives on.