§ 23-12.7-2 Legislative findings.
It is found and declared as follows:
(1) Breast cancer is a significant threat to the health of women. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, and causes the death of a woman in the United States every twelve (12) minutes.
(2) The incidence of breast cancer continues to increase at a dramatic rate. In 1964, one woman in twenty (20) developed breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. By 1987, the probability had increased to one in eleven (11) and by 1992, it was one in eight (8). At the current rate of increase, early in 2000, one woman in six (6) will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Presently breast cancer claims over two hundred (200) lives in Rhode Island annually.
(3) Breast cancer exacts an enormous economic toll on our society, including over two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) in direct medical costs, and over eight billion dollars ($8,000,000,000) in both direct medical and indirect costs.
(4) Medical experts still do not know the cause of breast cancer, or how to prevent breast cancer.
(5) The state of Rhode Island must take the lead in combating the increasingly rapid spread of breast cancer and the current lack of knowledge with respect to breast cancer's cause and cure, and effective methods of screening and treatment.
(6) It is the intent of the legislature in enacting this chapter to fund screening mammography for women, who are uninsured and/or underinsured, satisfying eligibility criteria as established by the Rhode Island department of health with assistance from a community advisory board consisting of consumer advocates and physicians.
(7) It is the further intent of the legislature to direct the Rhode Island department of health to provide appropriate diagnostic testing to determine a diagnosis of breast cancer and staging of the disease and case management of the woman's care by facilitating contact with a breast surgeon, medical oncologist, and/or radiation oncologist.
(8) In addition, this legislation will include a mandate for programs of outreach, education, increased awareness, and cultural competence to the statewide community.
(9) There are over twenty-two thousand (22,000) women in Rhode Island today with breast cancer. Nationally, one million six hundred thousand (1,600,000) women have breast cancer. Mammography screening is the most useful tool, to date, to identify a breast cancer.
(10) There are four thousand eight hundred forty-four (4,844) Rhode Island women, who are uninsured or underinsured and cannot afford a mammogram.
(11) In 1995, the Rhode Island general assembly passed a resolution declaring breast cancer an epidemic in the state.
(12) In keeping with its progressive and concerned outlook for the health and welfare of women in Rhode Island, the guarantee of breast cancer screening must be extended to uninsured and underinsured women.
(13) There should be no barrier to quality breast screening in Rhode Island.
(P.L. 2000, ch. 277, § 1.)