The Catalyst Program Is Growing!

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Advocacy Blog
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We launched the Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program in 2019 and in just two short (and challenging) years, we have made some huge strides in our efforts to increase access to colorectal cancer (CRC) screening! 

As a reminder, the Catalyst Program provides funding and technical assistance to people working to advance state policy to increase access to colorectal cancer screening. We’ve awarded grants to eight states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Texas, and Rhode Island

Here’s what we’ve accomplished to date:

  • Legislation in Kentucky was signed into law to ensure colorectal cancer screening and cancer risk genetic testing is covered for Medicaid patients and to allow funds from a special colorectal cancer license plate to be used toward screening and prevention.
  • Also, in Kentucky, the Board of Pharmacy approved a first-in-the-nation protocol allowing pharmacists to provide access to noninvasive screening tests at the counter where you pick up your prescriptions.
  • Legislation was signed into law in Arkansas and Texas to ensure screening at age 45 is covered and eliminates out-of-pocket costs for patients who need a colonoscopy following a positive noninvasive screening test.
  • Legislation was signed into law in Rhode Island and California to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for patients who need a colonoscopy following a positive noninvasive screening test, such as FIT or Cologuard. 

In each of these states, advocates sent letters and emails and shared their stories with legislators to show them why this legislation is so important. And it made a big impact!

Now, the great work continues! Not only are we continuing to work to advance policy in our existing states, but we are expanding! Fight CRC is thrilled to announce the 2022-2023 Catalyst grantees who will be working to pass legislation to increase access to CRC screening:

New York

Indiana

“Colorectal cancer mortality rates are higher in Indiana than the national average and this burden is disproportionately carried by Black Hoosiers who have a 30 percent higher CRC mortality rate. The support from Fight CRC’s Catalyst program is critical to mobilizing partners and enacting policies to create a more equitable prevention and early detection landscape in Indiana.”

- Bryan Hannon, Government Relations Director, ACS CAN Indiana

New Jersey

“While great progress has been made closing gaps in colorectal cancer screening between races and ethnicities in New Jersey, colorectal cancer rates in New Jersey remain high and an alarmingly high number of younger New Jerseyans are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year”, said Michael Davoli, New Jersey Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “The Fight Colorectal Cancer Catalyst Grant will enable ACS CAN and its partners to keep making progress in the fight against colorectal cancer in New Jersey.”

- Michael Davoli, Government Relations Director, ACS CAN New Jersey

Virginia 

“While some progress has been made closing gaps in colorectal cancer screening between races and ethnicities in the Commonwealth, colorectal cancer rates across our state remain high. Recently the American Association for Cancer Research identified three distinct hotspots in the United States where colorectal cancer death rates were elevated. One of these was in southeastern Virginia. The Virginia hotspot is made up of 24 independent cities and counties. This large pocket in Southeastern Virginia has excessive colorectal cancer death rates and is a well-defined area warranting prioritized screening intervention and increased screening coverage. The later a legislative issue. The infusion of Fight CRC funding will greatly increase our chances for succeeding in these campaigns.”

- Virginia: Brian Donohue, Virginia Government Relations Director

Do you live in one of these states? Email us at advocacy@fightcrc.org to get involved! And if you don’t live in one of these states, check out our Catalyst Program to learn more about what is happening in your state!

The Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program is supported by Exact Sciences, Genentech, Bristol Myers Squibb and No-Shave November.

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