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Comprehensive Perinatal Outreach

TEOC had earlier raised concerns about the perinatal diversion. In the fall of 1992, Carolyn Martin wrote the DHS director, Molly Joel Coye, on behalf of the TEOC expressing concerns about how the money was being used and how its use would be evaluated.[16] Coye responded on January 22, saying that spending Health Education money on CPO was appropriate because the expenditure was “formulated through a protracted process involving the various anti-tobacco constituencies, health care professionals, and others. The passage of these bills indicates that both the Legislature and the Administration approve of the appropriations in them.”[17] She then indicated that plans were still incomplete for the implementation of the CPO component. The CPO dollars were going to be used by counties to generate their matching funds for a federal program providing outreach to pregnant women.

The program structure and the rules governing it created confusion in the field, compounded by a September 15, 1991, memo from Dileep Bal, the head of the DHS Chronic Disease Control Branch (which included the Tobacco Control Section, TCS), and Rugmini Shah, the director of the state-level Maternal and Child Health (MCH), discussing the CPO program. According to the memo, AB 99 broadened AB 75 to include identifying pregnant women, assessing their health needs, and facilitating the delivery of services to them. The fourth step, according to the memo, was to “provide the necessary resources to help the pregnant woman deal with the negative effects of tobacco use and exposure to cigarette smoke on herself, her baby, and her family.”[18] This “provision of resources” step, however, violated the rules for federal matching funds for CPO, which explicitly required that the dollars be used only for outreach, not to deliver services, such as anti-tobacco education.

After a year of trying to get CPO working in the counties, the local lead


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agencies (LLAs) complained to TEOC. In October 1992 Breslow reported to Coye on the widespread discontent among the LLAs about CPO. These feelings were voiced at a statewide event called the Revolt Against Tobacco Conference, a meeting of approximately 300 leaders of the California tobacco control movement. After the TEOC met with the leaders, Breslow reported allegations of illegal use of Proposition 99 funds to match federal funds, orders from MCH staff to do traditional outreach, refusals to train staff in tobacco use prevention, and responses from MCH staff that were given with “arrogance and insistence that no one can `take money away from babies.'” He told Coye, “How the department can tolerate, and apparently even encourage, the diversion of such funds to MCH and CHDP without any substantial effort to ascertain what is being accomplished by those services toward tobacco use control is difficult to understand.”[19]

Martin also wrote Coye on behalf of the TEOC, which had received San Diego State's analysis of the county CPO plans, drawn up under contract with TCS. The majority of counties (52 percent) did not even include any mention of providing enhanced tobacco use prevention in their CPO plans. She also mentioned the “abysmal response” to the ethnic-specific training workshops and anecdotal reports of county health officers telling units to “spend the money as you wish—don't worry about tobacco.”[16]

By July 1993, Jennie Cook, who had become TEOC chair, had written to Coye to again express TEOC's concerns. She specifically asked how much of the Health Education money was being used to educate women about the risks of smoking and secondhand smoke. Coye sent her letter to Stephen Kessler, the deputy director for Primary Care and Family Health, who wrote back, “I believe it would not be the best use of these limited funds to conduct the level of data collection and analysis required to answer your specific question.”[20] Not surprisingly, this response did little to assuage TEOC's concerns about how the money was being used. The issue of CHDP and CPO was on its way to the courts.


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