Huntsville, Alabama (May 16, 2014) —The ALS Association, along with its Alabama Chapter, welcomed the ALS Care Clinic at Crestwood Medical Center to the nonprofit organization’s Certified Treatment Center of Excellence Program, establishing the ALS Care Clinic as meeting the highest levels of established national standards of care in the management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In an event held today, The ALS Association presented the institution with a plaque, officially recognizing it as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence – the first of its kind in the state of Alabama.
Recognition of the ALS Care Clinic at Crestwood Medical Center comes at a special time as the month of May is “ALS Awareness Month.”
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Over time, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, often leading to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is currently no cure for the disease.
The ALS Association’s Certified Center Program staff designs, implements and monitors programs based upon national standards of best-practice care in the management of the disease. The ALS Association offers the Certified Treatment Center of Excellence designation for those institutions meeting rigorous eligibility criteria, which includes: diversity of professional expertise in ALS; access to coordinated, multidisciplinary care; a strong, ongoing relationship with the local ALS Association chapter; and evidence of active participation in ALS research. The Center of Excellence designation assures people living with ALS and their families that these centers offer the highest level of evidence-based, quality care and services.
Research has shown that multidisciplinary care – or the practice of having physicians and other healthcare professionals collaborate to provide the most comprehensive treatment plan for patients – helps people with ALS have better quality of life and actually prolongs life in most cases. The Alabama Chapter of The ALS Association has a long history supporting multidisciplinary care, with the Clinic seeing its first ALS patient in March 2009.
“The care that people receive here is a model for other parts of Alabama and the nation, and I am proud that we are able to recognize this Clinic for its outstanding multidisciplinary approach to treating people with this devastating disease,” said National ALS Association Trustee, Stuart Obermann, when presenting the plaque.
“We are delighted to have met the criteria for becoming a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence – the only one of its kind in Alabama.” said Dr. Pam Hudson, CEO of Crestwood Medical Center. “We are thankful for the continued support from the Alabama Chapter in helping provide the very best care for patients here in Madison County and the State at large.”
John Washington, whose wife Eugenia was a patient at the ALS Care Clinic before her passing in 2012, now serves on the Alabama Chapter’s Care Services Committee.
“When my wife was diagnosed we didn’t know where to go or what to do,” said Washington. “The care and education we received from the Clinic helped us fight back. We no longer felt powerless against this disease. The Clinic and staff deserve this recognition. If this clinic didn’t exist in Huntsville my wife and I would have had to drive all the way to Augusta, Georgia or Lexington, Kentucky to get this level of care.”
Professional staff at the ALS Care Clinic includes Medical Directors, Dr. T.J. Mulpur and Dr. Aruna Arora, both practicing Neurologists with credentials and specialization/fellowship in neuromuscular disease. Clinic Nurse Director, Marcia Obermann RN BSN HRM, has been in nursing for over 30 years, with 14 years of high intensity experience working directly with ALS patients. Sherry Kolodziejczak MS OTR/L, Director of Crestwood’s Therapy Services, coordinates the partnership and collaboration between the Chapter and the hospital.
“Becoming a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence is recognized as the ‘gold standard’ of ALS care, where we give meaningful, compassionate, individualized, and patient-directed care grounded in evidence-based medical practice,” stated Marcia Obermann. Since 1998, The ALS Association’s nation-wide network of Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence has provided evidence-based, multi-disciplinary ALS care and services in supportive atmospheres. To become certified as a Center of Excellence, an ALS clinic must achieve national prominence, meet rigorous clinical care and treatment standards, participate in ALS-related research, and successfully complete a comprehensive site review.
The ALS Care Clinic multidisciplinary team consists of eight healthcare professionals who assess and treat the patient all in one visit. This team includes the Medical Director Neurologists, the Clinic RN, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Registered Dietician, Respiratory Therapist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Social Worker, and the Alabama Chapter Care Service Coordinator.
Additionally, The ALS Association has collaborated with over 40 affiliated ALS Clinics across the country to improve life quality and access to care for people living with ALS.
About The ALS Association and the Alabama Chapter
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people living with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified and recognized treatment centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.
The Alabama Chapter of The ALS Association is staffed by eight professionals and has served more than 575 patients diagnosed with ALS and their families since it was founded in 2004. In addition to the ALS Care Clinic, the Chapter provides support groups for patients, families and caregivers in 7 locations, home visits, respite care, equipment loans and more at no cost to patients and families. For more information about The ALS Association and the Alabama Chapter visit our website at www.ALSAlabama.org
Crestwood Medical Center
One Hospital Drive
Huntsville, AL 35801