ADM Brett Giroir: MD: This Year in Sickle Cell Care

The US Assistant Secretary for Health offers perspective on this past year in sickle cell care and the potential for its future.

In an interview with HCPLive®, the United States Assistant Secretary for Health ADM Brett Giroir, MD, both acknowledged the progress that has been made in sickle cell care as well as the potential for the future.

Earlier, he stressed the need to improve care-delivery systems so that patients can receive therapies without financial and social barriers.

He underscored the potential for re-imagining these systems for such patients.

“When we’re talking about sickle cell and a lot of conditions that are not rare but not common like diabetes, we really need a new system of care that is somewhere between the emergency room and the general practitioner and the subspecialist in an academic center,” Giroir said.

He proceeded to encourage establishing an intermediary center of care with more specialists, greater access to social workers, behavioral-health specialists, and experts in the drugs generally prescribed to this population.

“So, it’s really new model of care we’re trying to implement — with Project ECHO, a very important educational program that can link specialists all around the country to these qualified health centers to take care of patients with sickle cell disease,” he said.

And, of course, the challenging events of this past year have certainly spurred the need for innovation, such as increased reliance on telehealth (and the strategies to meet these needs).

While reflecting on the past few months, Giroir expressed optimism for the future of sickle cell care in the domains of therapeutic and care-delivery innovations.