Washington State Department of Health Blazing Trail: Overcoming Funding Cuts to Cancer Screenings
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Posted by: Lena Seino, Communications Specialist
Each month, NACDD seeks to highlight the excellent work being done by State Health Departments across the country. This month's "I Count!" story comes to us from the Washington Department of Public Health.
When it comes to cancer, early detection is the best protection. The Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program (BCCHP), provides the essential service of free cancer screening to eligible Washingtonians. In 2013, Washington's Legislature voted to expand Medicaid. With expectation that all people are to be insured, the Legislature eliminated state funds supporting the program and the related Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program. A federal sequestration-funding cut and the drop of local funds created more challenges for the program.
Washington was the only grantee, out of 66 nationally, to lose both their state funds and their treatment program in the same year. This ignited a need to find creative ways to continue providing these essential services that led to them blazing a planning trail, by creating healthcare reform planning materials for local contractors such as; client flow diagrams, fact sheets, communication materials, and updated policies and procedures, which now other states in similar situations can utilize.
Starting January 1, BCCHP screening services are only available to women and men who are ineligible for expanded Medicaid and new clients diagnosed with cancer are being referred to charity care.