Susan G. Komen Florida Advocacy Advisory Taskforce’s Support of Mary Brogan Program Helps Preserve Breast Cancer Funding in FY20 State Budget

During its first legislative session, the new Susan G. Komen Florida Advocacy Advisory Taskforce backed the Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (FBCCEDP), also known as the Mary Brogan Program, to ensure $1.83 million in funding was preserved to provide breast health services to women.  The Mary Brogan program is a federal-state partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida Health, providing potentially life-saving breast cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured women who do not qualify for Medicaid.

Komen Florida taskforce members ensured the Florida Legislature understood the impact and need for the Mary Brogan Program and urged representatives and senators to maintain funding throughout the session’s budget process.  From July 2014 to June 2017, the Mary Brogan Program provided more than 83,860 services to women and diagnosed 844 breast cancers.  The taskforce is grateful to Speaker Pro-Tem Magar, Representatives Raschein, Toledo, Brown, and Senate President Glavano and Senators Benacquisto, Mayfield, and Berman for their support, as well as the entire Women’s Legislative Caucus on ensuring the funding remained.

“The bipartisan support for the Mary Brogan Program illustrates the importance of this funding,” said Andrew Watt, chair of the Susan G. Komen Florida Advocacy Advisory Taskforce.  “Without access to breast cancer early detection programs, many uninsured women are forced to delay or forego screenings, which can lead to late-stage breast cancer diagnoses.”

The Mary Brogan Program is aligned with Komen Florida’s own funding throughout the state to provide screenings and treatment to vulnerable populations.  In fact, Komen Florida recently granted funding to two health departments that are a part of the BCCEDP program in Baker and Broward Counties.  Over $57 million in funding has been invested throughout Florida by Susan G. Komen as the global leader in breast health advancements and research to deliver lifesaving education, screening, and treatment services.

Following the end of session, taskforce members will continue to provide support to Representative Massullo and Senator Harrell, advocates for step therapy protocol legislation.  Step therapy, also referred to as “fail first”, is a method of utilization management health plans employ to control costs by beginning treatment with a more cost-effective drug therapy and then progressing to the newer, more costly and often most effective treatments only if necessary. Representative Massullo introduced HB 559 Prescription Drug Utilization Management to help ensure cancer patients can access the treatments they need to save their lives and have equal access to quality treatment. Senator Harrell supported the effort by including it in her original committee bill.  Task force members will work to pursue getting the language passed in the 2020 session.

“While our first priority is to save lives, our advocacy efforts allow us to address life-saving policy that will help improve the health outcomes for Floridians,” said Kate Watt, executive director of Komen Florida.  “If we don’t act to provide early detection services for the uninsured and push for effective therapies for breast cancer, women will face more deadly and more costly diagnoses, putting an even greater strain on our health system and state budgets.”