California representatives of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure point to a State audit that shows that the state’s Every Woman Counts (EWC) program has been poorly managed and about to run out of funding due to budget cuts and poor management.

Among the State auditor’s findings are that the EWC’s administrator, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), failed to maximize the funding it receives to provide breast cancer screening services, perhaps resulting in tens of thousands of women not receiving services for which they were eligible.

In addition, the auditor said that the CDPH cannot provide an accounting of exactly how much of EWC-slated funding was spent by CDPH on services other than mammography screening.

Since the California budget crisis and the release of United States Preventative Services Task Force recommendations in October of 2009, the CDPH has suspended all enrollments for breast cancer screening services until July 2, 2010, and it rose the eligibility age for breast cancer screening services to 50 and over.

In addition to asking that the CDPH to get its fiscal house in order, the Komen advocates have also asked the EWC administrators to restore the breast cancer screening age to 40.

The State has responded that the reduction in EWC services is due to reduced collections from tobacco taxes and the increase in the number of eligible patients.

However, Deb Weintraub, mission director of the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, commented in a press announcement that she is skeptical of that explanation, given the audit.

“We fully understand that tobacco tax revenues are declining, which has contributed to declining funds for the program,” said Weintraub. “If that trend continues, it may impact the sustainability of the program unless other sources of funds are developed. Yet, the program’s sustainability is also threatened by lack of internal controls. It is critical that management and governance reforms be made to ensure that funds are being spent directly on patients in need.”

(Source: Press Release)