Officials Seek Ways To Continue Offering Breast Cancer Screening
The California Public Health Department is continuing to spend money to educate low-income women about breast cancer screening, though the department says it no longer has the funds to offer breast cancer screenings, HealthyCal reports.
On Jan. 1, California began an enrollment freeze to reduce spending for the Every Woman Counts program, which educates women about health issues like cancer. About 89% of the funding for EWC was generated from the state tobacco tax.
Many low-income women have been blocked from receiving treatment for breast cancer because the state's treatment program can only treat women who were diagnosed through EWC.
Last year, EWC provided services for 350,000 low-income women (Baier, HealthyCal, 8/15).
Falling Tobacco Revenue
Last year, cigarette sales in California decreased by 8.1%, the largest one-year decline in the past decade, according to the state Board of Equalization.
The drop in sales means the tobacco tax revenue also has decreased. During the most recent fiscal year, the state received $839 million in cigarette tax revenue, down from $913 million it received the previous fiscal year.
This reduction affects some state health programs, including breast cancer care, that rely on the tobacco tax revenue for funding (California Healthline, 7/28).
Health department officials said that California regulations will not allow the state to dedicate more money toward screenings for breast cancer.
However, a state auditor said that while at least 60% of federal funds that the state receives must be spent on clinical services, the state could dedicate more money to the screenings.
In addition, the auditor said that shifting funds from outreach and education efforts would allowÂ a total of aboutÂ 27,500 women to receive breast cancer screenings this year.
State officials said that they would like to maintain a balance between providing services and providing education about the importance of cancer screenings.
Screening Women Elsewhere
Meanwhile, organizations that previously referred women to EWC for screenings now are looking for alternative locations for women to receive mammograms.
The American Breast Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure provide funds for screenings to help women who can no longer enroll in EWC (HealthyCal, 8/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.