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Hospital Partnership to Benefit Paralysis Patients

Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster and the Triumph Foundation in Santa Clarita have partnered to offer newly paralyzed patients the support they need to transition to life after an immobilizing injury. Under the collaboration, Antelope Valley Hospital case workers will notify the Triumph Foundation of hospitalized patients who have just been diagnosed with a paralyzing injury. The foundation will then send over a “Triumph Ambassador” – a volunteer who has suffered an immobilizing injury themselves – to meet with the patient and her or his family. The ambassador will bring along a care basket or backpack filled with gifts and information about resources for individuals who have suffered a traumatic injury. “People are pretty universally unprepared to suddenly have to make decisions on things like mobility equipment, so we try to give them some of that power back,” Triumph Foundation founder Andrew Skinner said. “There are a lot of unmet health needs and we try to provide that continuum of care, which is why this partnership is so important.” Spinal cord injuries, which are primarily caused by car accidents, affect as many as 353,000 people in the U.S., according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. The lifetime cost of becoming paralyzed at 50 years old ranges from an estimated $1.1 million to $2.6 million in health care and living expenses, depending on the severity of the injury. Indirect costs, including lost wages and productivity, are estimated at approximately $73,000 a year. “Everybody’s health insurance covers different things, so there’s no definitive rule for on cost, but almost everyone who goes through this will suffer severe financial hardship,” Skinner said. To mitigate some of the expense, the Triumph Foundation provides grants for paralyzed individuals to obtain equipment, home accessibility modifications and services. The foundation also leads support groups and holds programs for disabled athletes. Triumph also has partnerships with Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Palmdale Regional Medical Center and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Santa Clarita. “Connecting our patients with the Triumph Foundation is an important step toward physical and emotional healing,” Michelle Schaefer, program manager at the hospital’s trauma center, said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have a resource like this right here in the Antelope Valley.” Iran Eye Implants Second Sight Medical Products Inc. expanded into Iran in late November with the implantation of its prosthetic retinas in two patients. The Sylmar firm announced Dec. 5 that it had successfully implanted its Argus II retinal prosthesis system into a pair of patients at two separate hospitals in Shiraz. The Argus II is designed to restore “artificial” vision in those suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, a rare disease that destroys light-sensitive cells in the retina. The product uses two main components: a miniature video camera mounted on a pair of glasses and an array of electrodes implanted onto a patient’s eye to bypass dead retinal cells and stimulate the remaining ones, thereby inducing patterns of light in the brain that can substitute as vision in patients who learn to interpret them. The implants in Iran, both of which were performed by the medical team of opthamologist Mohsen Farvardin, are part of Second Sight’s strategy to bring its product to select eye centers internationally, according to the company. Argus II is distributed through health care partners in several European, east Asian and Middle Eastern countries as well as in the U.S. and Canada. mPulse Mobile Partnership The mobile messaging technology of mPulse Mobile Inc. in Encino will be integrated into software-as-a-service company Healthx Inc.’s platform for health care payers under a new partnership. The collaboration will enable payers subscribed to Healthx to receive text messages through mPulse, which sends users mobile notifications ranging from appointment reminders to alerts for chronic care management. Healthx currently serves more than 185 health care payers representing 24 million members, according to the company, affording a market expansion for mPulse’s product. mPulse aims to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction scores by engaging them through text messages, emails and interactive voice response. Its roster of providers, pharmaceutical and payer clients include Kaiser Permanente Inc., Inland Empire Health Plan, Humana Inc. and Mayo Clinic. “Healthx and mPulse Mobile share a common vision of delivering innovative solutions that deepen customer engagement to improve health outcomes,” mPulse Chief Executive Chris Nicholson said in a statement. Staff Reporter Helen Floersh can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or hfloersh@sfvbj.com.

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