Florida lawmakers refused to accept money for cancer control programs

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Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 9:46 am | More from The Florida Independent
Among the long list of federal health grants the state has shunned in the past year was a small award that would have “reduced the burden of cancer.”

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health tells The Florida Independent that budget authority was denied for a competitive grant “awarded to Florida beginning October 2010 for $175,000 yearly.”

The DP10-1017 “Demonstrating the Capacity of Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs to Implement Policy and Environmental Cancer Control Interventions” grant was a “five-year grant built on strengths of existing statewide Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council (C-CRAB) working with four regional cancer collaboratives to reduce the burden of cancer,” according to the Department of Health. The grant did not require any contributions from the state.

The grant was just one of many that has been rejected by the state. This week, health advocates in Broward County expressed their frustration with the millions of dollars Florida has turned away since the passage of the federal health care reform law.

According to a recent report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Florida is among many states that have “missed opportunities to enact laws and policies that could not only save money and generate revenue, but also save lives.” In the report, Florida was listed as one of the seven states that fell short in all “five priority areas.” Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee are the other states that are also falling short in every category.

Two of the priority areas the report focused on had to do with the funding of prevention and detection programs in the state.

According to a Department of Health spokesperson, the state’s joint advisory councils had recently “completed the revised 2010 Florida Cancer Plan and developed an accompanying Implementation Guide.” The plans would have built “on the cancer councils’ combined agenda of identified priorities” and the rejected grant would have “accelerated prevention and risk reduction policies and efforts.”

The department says the plans for the grant included:

  • Assisting Moffitt Cancer Center to convene the four goal committees to implement strategies for cancer control.
  • Assessing and implement initiatives to reduce tobacco use statewide.
  • Promoting national food guidelines and other measures to reduce obesity in school aged populations.
  • Developing and support community health workers to improve access to care for underserved populations.
  • Creating a forum to enhance the continuum of care for cancer patients through improved medical record keeping including electronic medical systems.

The Department of Health spokesperson tells the Independent that “the work of these initiatives is being continued by other programs in the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, but in a smaller scope.”

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