The Californian legislature is committing approximately $15 million to be spent in healthcare for adult sickle cell disease (SCD) patients. California is one US state that has a history of underserved patients. This new initiative would improve patient care by creating a huge state-wide network having sickle cell disease specialized care centers.
The newly opened clinic at Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center, Los Angeles, is one of such healthcare units where more than 2,000 patients can reside and avail medical services.
This new clinic is named “Jeffrey Smith Sickle Cell Adult Center” named after the son of former California mayor Gil Smith. His son died in 1982 while battling sickle cell disease (SCD) at an early age.
The new state-wide network will operate and serve in all California counties. These counties include Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, Alameda, San Bernardino, Madera, San Diego, Contra Costa, and others. However, these healthcare facilities are only available for adult sickle cell patients.
Mike Gipson, a member of the California assembly shared;
“Today, the majority of adults with SCD are forced to obtain care in hospital emergency departments and other non-SCD specialty settings. The Jeffrey Smith Sickle Cell Adult Center will be a center of excellence that understands adult patients’ unique needs, and [will] provide them with a quality of life that we would all want for ourselves.”
This fund money would be spent on training clinicians for promptly diagnosing and treating the disease, based on tests and symptoms. So that the complications could be avoided for all patients.
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In addition to that, it would also support various educational outreach programs. In collaboration with the federal Sickle Cell Data Collection program, it would monitor patient data.
Diane Nugent from the Center for Inherited Blood Disorders shares that Californian population has waited long and suffered from premature deaths due to sickle cell disease. That is why they are entitled to receive this support. She further adds;
“In the United States, life expectancy for individuals with sickle cell disease is 61 years. In the United Kingdom, it’s 70 years. In the state of California, it’s a shocking 43 years. The program made possible by this funding will give new hope to, and extend the lives of, our vulnerable and underserved Californians who suffer from this terrible disease.”
Most of the sickle cell disease patients die because of inadequate funding on healthcare. This death rate is significantly high in young adults and overall, death from sickle cell disease (SCD) in California is much higher than in other states. Californian hospitals also facilitate more numbers of emergency visits by the patients leading to hospitalizations.
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Sickle cell disease is a complicated medical condition where physical, as well as the mental health of the patient both, are affected. That is why SCD patients deserve first-care medical care. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services started facilitating sickle cell disease patients at MLK Jr. Outpatient Center back in 2016. This way, this new funding would help to access experts in the medical field to treat SCD patients.