Radiation illness screening ends

St. Mary’s Hospital has stopped offering a program that helped people with potential radiation exposure find compensation for their related illnesses.

The Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program is funded through federal grants. The Saccomanno Research Institute at St. Mary’s administered the program for seven years before it ceased last month.

Samantha Moe, spokeswoman for the hospital, said it had been awarded two three-year grants to fund the program and was in the first year of its third three-year grant when the hospital decided to end the program.

“We accomplished what we meant to accomplish,” Moe said.

The program had served more than 900 people potentially exposed to radiation, but participation had dwindled in recent years to one or two patients a week, Moe said.

The amount of the latest grant was less than half what it had been in previous years, Moe said.

The federal program helps people who may have developed cancer through working in nuclear-related industries such as uranium mining or living in areas where nuclear testing occurred.

People who enter the program are assessed to determine whether they are sick and entitled to federal compensation for treatment.

Only six clinics in the United States, including St. Mary’s Hospital, were funded under the program.

Moe said people affected by the closing of the program were sent letters about where they could continue to get assistaance. The two closest locations are in Utah at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George and Utah Navajo Health Systems in Montezuma Creek.


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