GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Receiving some of the best treatment for ALS won't be as far of a drive now for those battling the disease in the Grand Rapids area as Spectrum Health was named a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence Program.
Nationwide there are 58 ALS certified Centers of Excellence and this new Spectrum center is the fourth in Michigan.
"The prevalence compared to other diseases is not as great, we are still try to get real accurate figures so it is not something that is track as much as something like cancer or that sort of thing," said Tyler Maceachran, Executive Director of the ALS Association's Michigan Chapter. "We believe that in Michigan we have a little bit of a kind of hot spot where there is a greater prevalence than other areas of the country so that is why it is real critical for place like the Spectrum ALS clinic to be here to serve people."
This clinic will offer patients battle ALS a one-stop place to meet with experts in different fields.
"So this is the ALS association certifies clinics when they have reached a certain standard of excellence, meaning they provide multi-disciplinary care, basically one stop shopping for all a person with ALS needs," Maceachran said. "When they come to the clinic they can see a dietitian and the neurologist, the speech therapist, there is a whole lot of medical experts that need to service a person with ALS and these clinics make it as easy as possible and give the best quality of care as possible all in a one day visit."
This isn't the first achievement for this clinic, last year the Spectrum Health Multidisciplinary Clinic was the first to prescribe a new drug called Radicava which slows the progression of ALS.
"People with ALS are really gravitating towards these clinics earlier in their diagnosis and in their treatment, they are getting better treatment earlier, they are getting involved in some clinical trials," Maceachran said. "There is a lot of different areas right now that are being deeply explored that weren't before so we are very, very confidant that and have renewed hope that they is going to be better treatments and a cure in our near future."