Gov. DeSantis approves $800K for critical funding for ALS patients

Gov. Ron DeSantis approved $800,000 in funding for the Bitner Plante ALS Initiative of Florida in the 2020-2021 budget released yesterday. The Initiative provides support for ALS patients seeking treatment at the multidisciplinary clinics located at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville; University of South Florida, Tampa; University of Miami, Miami; and UF Health Jacksonville.

“We recognize that the Governor was faced with impossible decisions this year and appreciate greatly his commitment to ALS patients,” said Ray Carson, president and CEO of The ALS Association Florida Chapter.  “His support of the Bitner Plante Initaitive demonstrates how critically important the program is to hundreds of Floridians impacted by ALS.

“Rep. Travis Cummings, Sen. Aaron Bean, Rep. Holly Raschein, Rep. MaryLynn Magar and Sen. Rob Bradley advocated for the Bitner Plante Initiative throughout the legislative session,” said Carson. “Their leadership and support means so much to the ALS community.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting motor neurons, characterized by paralysis and death typically within two to five years from the time of diagnosis.  Victims gradually lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, and eventually breathe.

At an ALS multidisciplinary clinic, patients receive comprehensive care from a team of specialists at one location and on a single day. The team includes a neurologist, social worker, occupational therapist, speech therapist, respiratory therapist, physical therapist, registered dietitian, psychologist/psychiatrist and palliative care expert.  Multidisciplinary clinics coordinate care and interface with the primary care physician, local neurologist, and community-based services.

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