No Excuses helps reduce barriers for women needing mammograms
Various types of assistance are available.
JAMESTOWN – About three years ago, Nicki Wiederrich needed a mammogram. But the Edgeley, N.D., woman didn’t have the money to pay for it.
“... I didn’t have health insurance so in order to do my first mammogram, I needed obviously some help because I wasn’t going to be able to pay for it out of pocket,” Wiederrich said. “So I found out about the No Excuses program and also the Women’s Way program through Central Valley Health.”
With the help of both programs, Wiederrich got her screenings and the costs were paid. Both screenings came back clear.
No Excuses is a program through Jamestown Regional Medical Center that offers mammograms and cervical screenings. The program also partners with Central Valley Health District through the Women’s Way program.
“Women’s Way helps women pay for mammograms and pap smears,” said Robin Iszler, unit administrator, Central Valley Health District. “Women’s Way can help women using No Excuses who meet certain eligibility requirements pay for those services.”
The proceeds from the annual Running of the Pink in Jamestown support No Excuses and Women’s Way.
The idea behind No Excuses is that by removing barriers such as cost, transportation, schedule conflicts or making time for themselves, women will get their screenings, says Katie Ryan-Anderson, marketing manager for JRMC.
“These screenings are so important and if our teams find an area of concern the options are so much better and greater if it’s found early,” she said.
Wiederrich said since that first mammogram, she has continued to use the No Excuses program even though her circumstances have changed. She is employed by Anne Carlsen Center and has health insurance and financial resources that cover the cost of her screenings. But she likes the convenience of when No Excuses has been offered, outside of the traditional workday so she doesn’t have to take time off from work.
Ryan-Anderson said No Excuses, like Women’s Way, is offered all year-round but certain days are also scheduled in October, some specifically for educators when they’re on fall break. This year, No Excuses will offer screenings on Oct. 17-19. For educators, they will be available on Oct. 20-21.
“Our target is always anyone who hasn’t been to the doctor in a while, specifically women who are underserved or underinsured, new Americans,” she said of No Excuses. “In the past, we have recognized that one of the barriers specifically for educators is finding time when they’re in the classroom. It can be really hard to get a sub for that.”
In 2021, 18 women had screenings on specific dates set aside for No Excuses, Ryan-Anderson said. No Excuses at JRMC is for anyone, she noted.
“If they’re in for their screening, our team will say also ‘We have this No Excuses program and what it can do is cover any expenses that your insurance or Women’s Way or other programs do not,’” she said. “We don’t ask income, we don’t ask family size or anything like that. It’s just if you need the support of this program, we’re here for you.”
JRMC began offering No Excuses in 2015 as a response to data that showed women weren’t getting mammograms, Ryan-Anderson said.
“We look at our community health rankings …. and we could see that utilization in Stutsman County was lower than average,” she said.
In 2019, the most recent year for data, Stutsman County had a 59% utilization rate for mammograms, Ryan-Anderson said. North Dakota’s utilization rate for the same period was 53%.
She noted the community is a strong supporter of No Excuses and Women’s Way, and that events bringing awareness and support for that aren’t limited to October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“Running of the Pink is in June and it’s just a friendly reminder that this is important, the community supports individuals in getting this care done,” Ryan-Anderson said.
The Basket, Bags and Bubbly event in November also supports women’s health and cancer care, she noted.
“So pink used to be limited to October but it’s much more than that here in this community,” Ryan-Anderson said.
“We’re lucky our community has fundraising events for breast cancer awareness with the Running of the Pink,” she said. “If someone does have an abnormality there’s also resources to help those folks as well.”
For Wiederrich, a past chair and co-chair for LaMoure County Relay for Life for five years, screenings remain important.
“This last year I was diagnosed with two types of skin cancer so ... now I’m on the up and up with my screenings,” she said. “I appreciate this program (No Excuses) all the more for the fact that having been diagnosed with a cancer it’s really important to have that available to our community.”
Wiederrich, who serves on the JRMC Foundation, said she is doing well and continues with follow-ups with a dermatologist every six months.
Iszler encourages women who’ve never had a mammogram or who know someone who’s afraid to have one to reach out to those who are delaying going in for the screening.
“We’re here to help you find a way to get screened because we know that screening tests like pap smears and mammograms will save lives if cancer is caught early,” Iszler said. “So that’s really what we want to do.”
For more information on No Excuses, visit
or call JRMC at (701) 952-4852. For more information on Women’s Way, visit
or to enroll, call 1-800-44-WOMEN (1-800-449-0636) or 701-252-8130 and ask for Tonya.