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Upstate ALS Center certified as treatment center of excellence

Upstate ALS Center certified as treatment center of excellence

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Upstate Medical University’s ALS Research and Treatment Center has been certified as a Treatment Center of Excellence by the national ALS Association and its Upstate New York Chapter.

The certification, which Upstate has received previously, signifies that the center exhibits the highest levels of established national standards of care in the management of ALS.

In addition, the national association and local chapter have both awarded separate grants of $25,000 to benefit patient care.

Upstate treats nearly 185 patients with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, throughout the region.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is currently no cure for the disease.

Liz Krisanda, executive director of the ALS Association Upstate New York Chapter, presented the certificate to center director Eufrosina Young, MD, assistant professor of neurology, at an event Feb. 16.

“The care that people receive here is a model for other parts of the country, and I’m proud that we are able to recognize the institution for its outstanding multidisciplinary approach to treating people with this devastating disease; this model allows patients to see multiple professionals of varying specialties in just one clinic visit rather than a multitude of separate appointments,” Krisanda said. Elizabeth Krisanda, Upstate New York Chapter Executive Director.  “The ALS Research and Treatment Center here at Upstate is the only Certified Treatment Center of Excellence in our 48-county service area.”

“We are delighted to have met the criteria for maintaining our status as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence,” Young said. “We are thankful for continued support from the Upstate New York Chapter in helping provide the very best care for patients here in upstate New York. Our program includes speech, respiratory, physical and occupational therapy to help patients live independently for as long as possible as well as nutritional counseling to keep them strong. Our clinic social worker collaborates with the Chapter’s Care Services Manager to help families identify and secure needed resources.”

Since 1998, The ALS Association’s national network of Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence has provided evidence-based, multidisciplinary ALS care and services in a supportive atmosphere with an emphasis on hope and quality of life. Each ALS clinic must meet The ALS Association’s clinical care and treatment standards, which are based on the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Practice Parameters, participate in ALS-related research and successfully complete a comprehensive site review to be certified as a Center of Excellence. Achieving certification through successful completion of the program’s robust clinical and administrative reviews confirms to people living with ALS and their family members the validity and comprehensiveness of the Certified Treatment Center of Excellence’s standards of quality and implementation of best practices.

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.

Caption: Upstate's ALS Center won recertification as a national ALS Treatment Center of Excellence. ALS Center Director Eufrosina Young, MD, left, accepts the certification from Liz Krisanda, executive director of the ALS Association of Upstate New York Chapter.