Governor Corbett’s proposed budget 2011/2012 includes a strategy to collapse several medical programs including sickle cell disease (SCD) in to one line item and to cut this line item by 45%. The result of such a cut will be devastating to this vulnerable population.
It is estimated that more than 10,000 persons with SCD in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will undoubtedly be left without access to essential specialty care services through the hospitals and community based programs. The effects of funding cuts since 2007 (in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) have rendered current services to the bare minimum. Any additional cut would defunct this system of coordinated care for children and adults who rely on the Hematology/Oncology departments across Pennsylvania to remain healthy.
Excruciating pain is the hallmark of SCD. The number of pain crisis is directly proportional to the risk of death from complications of SCD. Preventing and treating pain crisis effectively must then be our goal while we wait for researchers to find a universal cure.
The effect of the elimination of specialty care in Pennsylvania for patients with SCD
· Dismantling of systems of coordinated care across the state
· Loss of access to specialty physicians and community based organizations
· Increases in emergency room visits and subsequent burden on Medicaid/Medicare
· Widespread, severe increases mortality and morbidity
Living with chronic illness is difficult even when there is access to proper care and support. Governor Corbett must find other ways of balancing the budget that does not include taking from the most vulnerable among us. We are aking you to sign this petition to urge Governor Corbett to :
· preserve the medical programs line item for sickle cell disease
· eliminate the 45% cut
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Pennsylvania is well known for being #1 in Health Care. We have recognized systems of coordinated care for children and adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). From diagnosis through the Newborn Screening Program, transition to adulthood and across the life course, the coordination of efforts of specialty care physicians and community based organizations (CBO) are the reasons that so many persons with SCD are living healthier lives. I was shocked to learn that your proposed Budget 2011/12 includes a strategy to collapse the line item for several medical programs, including sickle cell disease. Further, it reduces this combined line by 45%.
I am writing to ask you to reconsider this plan. Consider the potential outcomes of this action:
1. Statewide decreases in patient access to specialty care and community based services resulting in higher emergency room visits and an increased reliance on the already over burdened Medicaid system.
2. Massive increases in mortality and morbidity for more than 10,000 Pennsylvanians who live with sickle cell disease, of which approximately 1/3 are children.
My son, Jonathan, is 10 years old and is living with sickle cell disease. I can't imagine what we will do without the Sickle Cell Program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. We are doing our best to keep him as healthy as possible while we wait for a universal CURE. We can't do it without proper access to specialty care and community based services. We can't do it without YOU.
I understand that a balanced budget is important to Pennslyvania's financial future, but surely you can find a way to lead Pennsylvania without taking it from the Commonwealth's most vulnerable populations who deserve a healthy future.
Andrea M. Williams