Michigan Healthcare Leaders Speak on Clinical Genomics During White House Panel – MHA

MHA EVP Laura Appel joins experts from MDHHS, BCBSM, Michigan Medicine and Beaumont Health

The MHA and other healthcare leaders participated in a September 22 virtual panel discussion on clinical genomics hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

The purpose of the webinar was to raise awareness of the clinical utility and life-saving potential of clinical genome sequencing, as well as to highlight coverage models for state Medicaid programs and private payers to enable equitable access.

According to the National Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health, recent advances in technology have enabled clinicians to rapidly sequence the genomes of critically ill newborns and children to quickly make a diagnosis. This powerful technology can transform lives by identifying potentially life-saving and life-changing medical treatments. However, despite the tremendous promise of genome sequencing to improve health outcomes, not all patients who could benefit from this technology have access to it.

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Laura Appel, Executive Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy at the MHA, joined the conversation to discuss our state’s model for promoting genome sequencing coverage. Additional panelists from Michigan healthcare facilities included:

  • Brian KeislingDirector, Office of Medicaid Policy, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.
  • Caleb Bupp, MD, FACMGDepartment Head of Medical Genetics and Genomics at Beaumont Health Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
  • Lynne Carter, MD, MPHMedical Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
  • Wendy R. Uhlmann, MS, LCGCgenetic consultant and clinical professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine (Department of Genetic Medicine) and Human Genetics at the University of Michigan.
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During the discussion, the group addressed Project Baby Deer, an initiative that offers rapid full-genome sequencing tests for critically ill infants up to one year of age. The program can improve the clinical management of young patients by initiating life-saving treatments, avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures, shortening hospital stays, and helping families make treatment decisions.

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To learn more about clinical genome sequencing, visit the HHS website. Anyone with questions about Project Baby Deer can contact MHA’s Laura Appel.

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