University and state officials announced today the establishment of a new statewide prostate cancer treatment program to help uninsured men with prostate cancer receive critical medical care. The initial three-year program, administered by UCLA, is funded with $50 million from the state of California. The new program is called IMPACT: Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer.
The first three regional sites open today at UCLA Medical Center, the University of California at San Francisco and the University of California at Davis (located in Sacramento). Next year the University of California at Irvine and the University of California at San Diego will open, followed by additional sites around the state.
IMPACT will help men, regardless of age, who have no or limited health insurance, do not qualify for Medi-Cal, do not have Medicare and have incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Once fully operational, the new program aims to offer comprehensive treatment for prostate cancer to qualifying men. It is estimated that there are 3.5 million uninsured Californian men, from all ages up to 64. In addition to offering treatment, the new program is designed to increase education and promote awareness about the importance of timely, high quality prostate cancer treatment.
The UCLA Department of Urology will manage IMPACT and subcontract with the regional sites to coordinate care. The state department of health services will administer the funding and oversee the overall program.
"This is a major award for UCLA and the UC System," said Dr. Gerald S. Levey, UCLA's provost of medical sciences and dean of the school of medicine. "We are very pleased to administer this program that will help improve men's health in California."
"This is the largest program of its kind nationwide to address the public health issue of prostate cancer among lower-income, uninsured men," said Dr. Mark Litwin, program director and associate professor, UCLA Departments of Urology and Health Services and researcher with UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, "We hope that the program will become a model for other states to follow."
According to Litwin, men diagnosed with prostate cancer typically require a significant amount of information and advice in selecting treatment choices, yet few materials or strategies have targeted those from disadvantaged backgrounds. A special health education team will design outreach strategies that address the cultural, ethnic and low-literacy issues often found in underserved communities in California. The team will also create key materials and address the psychosocial issues of working with uninsured and other at-risk individuals.
Another team will implement evaluation tools to measure the quality of care and assess outcomes. According to Litwin, this new system may help establish better methods to monitor the quality of care in other prostate cancer treatment programs nationwide.
Each regional center will offer patient care as well as work with local health departments and other community providers to establish a growing network of health facilities statewide that will help patients be evaluated and treated in their local communities.
"In California, a total of 21,180 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in 1999," said Dr. Jean B. deKernion, Chair, UCLA Department of Urology and the Clark Urological Center. "Timely treatment is critical with prostate cancer and this program will help us reach more men in California than ever before."
For more information about the program, please call 1-800-409-UCLA or visit the website: www.california-impact.org