SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville) received approval yesterday for an audit of the California Department of Public Health’s implementation of the California Diabetes Program (CDP). The request received unanimous support from the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC).
The request comes at a time when CDP funds, initially appropriated to directly address diabetes, have been used to fund one of many existing smoking cessation programs, also known as Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking (MIQS). These programs provide free nicotine patches and 20 dollar gift cards to various convenience stores, simply by calling a toll-free number and giving a Medi-Cal number.
“I have serious concerns about the efforts of the California Diabetes Program moving away from addressing the impact of diabetes directly,” Gaines said, “especially when anti-smoking campaigns already get so much funding from various taxes.”
Smoking rates plummeted to just 10 percent in 2013, thanks in large part to state and federal taxes on tobacco products. Diabetes, on the other hand, receives minimal funding from the federal government, mostly in the form of a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Still, the CDP continues to apply for grants for more smoking cessation programs, allowing diabetes rates to skyrocket.
“The little money that California gets from the CDC should be used for addressing the escalating impact of diabetes – not free nicotine patches and gift cards,” said Gaines. “We need to implement an action plan that effectively addresses this terrible disease.”
The audit will also examine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the CDP’s expenditures, whether they address diabetes directly or indirectly, and whether the Department has maximized the opportunities that the federal grants have given them. The audit will be completed by early next year.
Assemblywoman Beth Gaines represents the 6th Assembly District, which includes portions of Placer, El Dorado, and Sacramento and counties.