A message from the Komen Phoenix Affiliate and LPM

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A victory for women

In a victory for women throughout the state, a woman’s location at the time of her breast or cervical cancer diagnosis is no longer a factor in determining whether or not she receives treatment from Arizona’s Medicaid program, thanks to a policy change that removes barriers and dedicates more funding for treatment services.

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Up until August 2, when the Fiscal Year 2013 budget package and policy changes went into effect, coverage for breast and cervical cancer treatment in Arizona’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), was only available to uninsured women who were diagnosed through Arizona’s Well Woman HealthCheck Program (WWHP). But now, women in Arizona will receive Medicaid services regardless of where they were originally screened, as long as they meet other eligibility requirements. 

The new policy also opens up a dedicated $2 million from Arizona and a federal match of $6 million for women in need to access treatment services.

The change was initiated by House Bill 2472, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Rep. Kate Brophy McGee (R-Phoenix) and Rep. Matt Heinz (D-Tucson). The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS-CAN) and the Arizona Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure collaborated to support the effort. 

“Enhancing access to care will help save more lives from cancer,” said Brian Hummell, director of government relations for ACS-CAN. “We’ve made great progress in screening and detecting cancer, the next step to help save more lives from the disease is to provide easy and affordable access to treatment. Removing barriers, and in this case opening doors, is a step in the right direction.” 

According to the “American Cancer Society 2012 Facts and Figures,” 4,470 women in Arizona are expected to be newly diagnosed with breast cancer and 250 diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012. It is estimated that hundreds of Arizona women have been negatively affected by the state’s restrictions.

“With this change, access to treatment is awarded to Arizona’s most vulnerable population – women who are productive members of our community yet earn low incomes, are uninsured, and do not otherwise qualify for AHCCCS,” said Beverly Kruse, executive director of the Komen Phoenix Affiliate. “This is an incredible testament to the positive change that can be made when we work together.”

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