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County denies breast cancer program for young women

The Health Care Agency of Orange County, under direction from the board of supervisors, won’t fund Planned Parenthood’s Breast Health Care Program

pink-ribbonUPDATE: We got a call back from HCA spokesperson Deanne Thompson this afternoon regarding the Planned Parenthood grant application. According to Thompson the Health Care Agency has not yet made a final determination regarding the proposal from Planned Parenthood.

“We are working with Planned Parenthood to resolve a few issues with their proposal to ensure compliance with the new Board directive regarding the use of these TSR funds,” Thompson explained. “We hope to resolve those issues so that their proposal can be funded.”

UPDATE #2: I just got a message from Stephanie Kight over at Planned Parenthood. Apparently, HCA’s position that no decisions have benn made and that they are working with Planned Parenthood to resolve a few issues is news to them.

“We anxiously await HCA’s call,” Kight told me. “The possibility of resolution was not what we understood after our last meeting.”

ORANGE,CA – Planned Parenthood President and CEO Jon Dunn has announced that the County of Orange has refused to fund a new Breast Health Care Program designed to serve hundreds of young, uninsured women in Orange County. The proposed program would have provided testing and treatment, including diagnostic procedures and follow-up care, to women who have a detected breast abnormality or who are at high-risk for breast cancer.

“What is clear about this decision,” says Dunn, “is that by denying this grant, the County of Orange has ensured that hundreds of young women will not have access to health care services that could literally save their lives. Our doctors and nurses perform more than 15,000 clinical breast exams each year, so we understand the need for this critically important program.” 

Planned Parenthood submitted the program in the annual grant funding process for Tobacco Settlement Revenues (TSR), complying with the last-minute policy changes implemented by the supervisors just days before grants were due. The new TSR guidelines create oppressive restrictions on the funds, which severely limits the scope of services that community clinics can provide. Still, Planned Parenthood’s second-level breast health care program met every single restriction imposed by the supervisors, including the stipulation to house the program in a completely separate facility.  

“We are very disappointed in the decision by the County of Orange to not fund the Breast Health Care Program,” says Lisa Wolter, executive director of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Orange County. “Orange County desperately needs additional breast health programs for young women. This was a good program meeting a critical need.” 

Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Orange County recently published the Community Profile Report, which pointed out the huge unmet need for breast cancer screenings and treatment for young women in California – specifically in Orange County. Such procedures are largely uncovered for women younger than 40, and even harder to obtain if the woman is uninsured. 

“Our commitment to high-quality health care for young women remains strong,” Dunn says. “We would like to work with the County of Orange to use TSR funds to support our Breast Health Care Program, but to date they have refused. This appears to be part of a continuing attack on Planned Parenthood and the women we serve.”

In its first year of operation, Planned Parenthood’s Breast Health Care Program would serve an estimated population of more than 400 young, uninsured women. 

“By refusing to fund this program,” Dunn says, “the county is telling these 400 women – women who have nowhere else to turn to in Orange County for this type of testing and treatment – that they don’t care whether or not they have cancer; that the county doesn’t care whether they live or die.”


  1. lefty lefty May 27, 2009

    Missing relevant detail from their release – how much money was PP demanding?

  2. Chris Prevatt Chris Prevatt Post author | May 27, 2009

    $ 289,656 was the amount requested for the program.Basically the same dollar amount they received this fiscal year ending 6/30/09.

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