Davis Announces $50M Prostate Cancer Treatment Program for the Uninsured
Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday announced a statewide program designed to provide low-income men with care for prostate cancer, the Sacramento Bee reports. Called IMPACT, or Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer, the program will be funded for three years with $50 million -- $10 million the first year and $20 million in each of the next two years. The program will provide "comprehensive cancer care" for up to 100 men each month. To qualify, patients must earn less than 200% of the federal poverty level and have no or "limited" insurance coverage (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 7/12). Yesterday, treatment centers opened at the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, UCSF and UC Davis. Sites at UC Irvine and UC San Diego are scheduled to open next year (Malnic, Los Angeles Times, 7/12). While the state Department of Health Services will oversee the program and its funding, each site will work with local health departments to "establish a network of health facilities" to provide treatment. The program will also include an education team that will create outreach strategies to address cultural, ethnic and illiteracy issues. "This innovative program will provide life-saving treatment for needy Californians. Education, counseling and state-of-the art treatment are integral parts of the program," Davis said (Office of the Governor release, 7/11). The program will primarily target "men of color," according to Dr. Mark Litwin. African-American men, for example, are prone to get a "more aggressive type" of prostate cancer and Latinos are at higher risk because they are "less likely to have access to care." IMPACT has not set any money aside for prostate cancer screening, the Bee reports. Although a screening program has been approved by the Legislature, it remains unfunded (Sacramento Bee, 7/12).