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The Virginia Mason ALS Clinic has been certified by the ALS Association (ALSA), making it the first ALS Clinic to receive such certification in the state of Washington. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a mysterious, progressive neurodegenerative disease that does not yet have a cure. It affects as many as 30,000 people annually with more than 5,600 people diagnosed each year.

The ALSA certification included an elaborate review process, and staff at the ALS Clinic spent a lot of time refining the clinic’s processes. "We all traveled to other ALS centers around the country to observe and learn,” says John Ravits, MD, FAAN, VM neurology. “We had two site visits from outside reviewers across the country and spent a lot of time discussing operations.”

The VM ALS Clinic treats approximately 50 to 60 ALS patients, who benefit from providers in areas such as neurology, physical medicine & rehabilitation, speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy, neuropsychology, respiratory therapy, nutrition and patient advocacy. Once a week, the team assembles in a patient care conference to discuss each patient and their needs, and then provides phone follow up between visits. "This certification allows us to be even more connected to the ALS provider groups around the country,” adds Dr. Ravits. “We eventually will get more grant money to support more services for our patients that are not reimbursed, such as social work and care giver support.”

The VM ALS Clinic is the 27th certified ALSA Center in the country. A letter sent by the ALSA stated in part that the ALS Association, “thanks you for your personal commitment to the ALS population and for the leadership you and your colleagues demonstrate in providing comprehensive, multi-disciplinary clinical care at Virginia Mason Medical Center ALS Clinic. I commend you and your team on meeting the criteria and accomplishing the requirements to maintain ALSA Center certification.”

For more information on ALS or the ALSA, visit www.alsa.org.

 

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