Hurry! Help Cure Sickle Cell by Supporting Medicaid Funding For Stem Cell Therapy

by Larry Nixon, MD

May 18, 2015

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has agreed to open a National Coverage Analysis for Sickle Cell Disease. In coordination with American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT), they are requesting an expansion of the current list of diseases for which Hematopoietic Cell Transplant (HCT) is expressly noted as covered and reimbursable.

Nationla Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match and ASBMT submitted a coverage request for these indications due to an identified barrier to care created by the lack of coverage clarity for these disease indications when treating Medicare & Medicaid patients. This is so significant because, when funding of a therapy is available it increases practitioners interest in using that treatment. Stem cell transplant is curative and life-saving for sickle cell patients.

Sickle Cell Stem Cell Transplantation happens to be one of the most promising uses for stem cell transplants. Sickle Cell, being the first disease for which the molecular basis was known, should not be the last disease to benefit from such a life changing therapy. Currently, kids with sickle cell struggle with a 12% risk of stroke before the reach adulthood and horrifying life expectancy of 49 years of age. In fact, too many lose their life in childhood. This illness makes the simple things in life, as going to school and participating in physical activity, an everyday struggle.

The research is promising for stem cell therapy and funding support can change the lives of, not only those with the disease, but also to the care-givers who endure emotional distress. Please support this cause, as funding will revolutionize and potentially eradicate the suffering of 80,000 Americans.