Two recent gifts from faith-based nonprofit organization QueensCare will help USC offer bone marrow transplantation to patients who might otherwise not be able to afford it.
By Amy E. Hamaker
Two recent gifts from QueensCare, a Los Angeles faith-based nonprofit organization, will make a real difference for indigent patients with blood disorders, allowing them to receive life-saving bone marrow transplantation treatment.
The Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at the USC Norris Cancer Hospital has received $500,000 to support inpatient treatment for patients not eligible for Medi-Cal coverage. An additional gift of $100,000 will be split between the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Department of Surgery for transport for patients of its Transplant Institute, and to provide transport for patients of the Keck School Department of Medicine’s Galaxy Program. The Galaxy Health Care pilot project at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center offers more consistent and timely access to primary care services based on the patient-centered medical home model.
Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is often used as a cure for blood disorders such as lymphoma, acute leukemia, myelodysplasia, multiple myeloma and aplastic anemia. Although many of the patients who come to LAC+USC needing BMT—who are often young adults—might be good candidates for the treatment, they may not receive it without Medi-Cal coverage.
“For many leukemia patients, BMT is vital,” said Vinod Pullarkat, director of the Bone Marrow & Stem Cell Transplantation program at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. “With modern transplantation techniques, the survival rate for those patients goes from almost nothing to 70 to 80 percent.
“But if patients don’t qualify for Medi-Cal and don’t have private insurance, there has been no other way to offer BMT to them,” he continued. “Without QueensCare’s gift it wouldn’t be possible to offer these transplants. It’s the only mechanism we have to provide these services to the indigent population.”
QueensCare provides healthcare to low income, uninsured individuals residing in Los Angeles through its own operations and through partnerships and collaborations with academic, faith-based and other local organizations serving this population.
“Many hardworking people do not have access to care when they need it—especially sophisticated treatments like BMT,” said Barbara Brandlin Hines, president and CEO of QueensCare and QueensCare Family Clinics. “QueensCare is happy to partner with USC to bring these treatments to those who would otherwise go without.”