A state program that screens low-income women for breast cancer has been paying doctors and clinics $12 million a year to track women whose mammograms showed they were cancer-free. The program –- known as Every Woman Counts -– stopped accepting new patients Jan. 1 because of a self-described lack of funds. The $50 case management fees have been questioned by the Department of Finance, which says other big states don’t pay them, and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, which recommended eliminating them. The money saved could be used to once again offer mammograms to women who qualify for the program.
Every Woman Counts
Legislation that would reverse major cuts to a program that provides free mammograms for low-income women passed unanimously through the Senate Thursday and was sent to an uncertain fate in the office of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Elizabeth Center for Cancer Detection in Los Angeles — one of the oldest cancer screening clinics in California — plans to shut down today after treating its last patients. The center is a victim of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to freeze enrollment in a cancer screening program for low-income women on Jan. 1 and pay for routine mammograms only for women after the age of 50. Those moves caused an abrupt drop in the Elizabeth Center’s patient load and revenues, which had already been strained as its costs exceeded what it was earning from the state.
Hundreds of California clinics that provide low-income women with free mammograms and cervical exams are fighting to stay open this summer because of changes in patient eligibility rules and a state budget that is already weeks late with no deal in sight. HealthyCal correspondent
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year restricted eligibility and froze enrollment in a program that provides breast and cervical exams for uninsured women. Now Democrats in the Legislature are trying to restore the service.