theresa larivee

For 268 years, Pennsylvania Hospital has been driven by the spirit of innovation. Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond transformed American medicine when they founded our hospital, and PAH has paved the way for progress ever since. This month, What’s New focuses on the work being done across PAH to reimagine health care delivery, develop groundbreaking treatments, and improve the patient experience. I’d like to share some details about one of our new services, which touches on each of those goals.

PAH’s infusion center is now treating patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) using the first FDA-approved drug for both relapsing and progressive forms of MS. MS occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The damage can cause symptoms like double vision, cognitive difficulties, and fatigue, and can trigger movement disorders such as tremor, all of which can worsen progressively or last for weeks then resolve. While there is no cure for MS yet, Penn Medicine offers Ocrevus, a breakthrough infusion treatment that eliminates certain immune system cells that trigger MS attacks, halting the progression of the disease.

While Ocrevus has been available at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, PAH is proud to now offer an additional access point in our Farm Journal Building. Treating movement disorders like those experienced by some MS patients is a signature strength at Pennsy, but providing Ocrevus onsite allows our providers to treat patients’ full range of symptoms. This expansion to Pennsy increases the health system’s capacity to welcome more MS patients while also ensuring current patients receive their infusions without delays or long wait times. PAH has been treating MS patients since July, and our goal is to see as many as two or three patients per week moving forward.

Introducing an additional patient population and a new infusion treatment to our already busy infusion center was no simple task. This transition wouldn’t have been possible without the interdepartmental collaboration and coordination between Dan Wilson, MBA, BSN, RN, FABC, vice president for Allied Health and Ambulatory Services, Mary Pat Lynch, CRNP, MSN, AOCNP, administrator of the Abramson Cancer Center at PAH, Jessica Cooper, chief administrative officer of the Neuroscience Service Line, Robert Tobin III, RN, BSN, OCN, system director for Infusion Services, and many others. I am also grateful for the efforts of our frontline staff, who have been vital in helping our patients comfortably and conveniently transition from PCAM. The commitment to innovative patient care that inspired our founders continues to inform our work today, and I look forward to seeing this new service grow.

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