UI Health Research Helps Expand Medicare Coverage for Sickle Cell Patients

Thursday, April 7, 2016

UI Health research helped influence a recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) decision to expand Medicare coverage to include therapies like bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to treat specific blood disorders, including sickle cell disease and myelofibrosis, a type of blood cancer that is otherwise incurable. Dr. Damiano Rondelli, chief of the division of Hematology/Oncology at UI Health, made an appeal to CMS for expanding coverage, and his research is cited in the center’s decision memo. Dr. Rondelli is excited his work will have an impact on many patients.

“The lack of coverage for proven curative therapies has prevented patients from receiving procedures that can improve their lives,” he says. “The Medicare expansion will help provide a cure to more patients with debilitating diseases like sickle cell or myelofibrosis.”

UI Health’s Sickle Cell Program is the largest in the Midwest and has successfully cured 13 people of sickle cell with BMT. Medicare coverage for sickle-related BMT is expected to go in place this summer.