The Pediatric Rheumatology CORE Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
One of the most critical challenges facing children with rheumatic diseases is the dire shortage of board certified, practicing pediatric rheumatologists across the U.S. The CORE, a pilot program developed by the Division of Rheumatology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, aims to address these challenges with an innovative, comprehensive approach. This approach is already proven to work, as it is currently running successfully on a small-scale pilot basis.
The concept for CORE consists of a host hospital with a robust pediatric rheumatology division, support staff, fellows, and research capability. The host hospital sets up satellite clinics at other medical centers in underserved areas for several days per month, staffed by the host hospital’s doctors. By not having to maintain a full-time rheumatology division, the satellite clinic can afford to pay a higher fee per day for the doctors working in the clinic than the host hospital can. Thus, two objectives are simultaneously met: proper medical care is brought to underserved areas and the host hospital’s rheumatology division has a stronger bottom line — allowing it to further expand its reach through more satellite clinics, as well as increase the number of pediatric rheumatology fellows trained at the hospital. Additionally, research can be conducted across a far broader population and geographic area, using a multi-center approach as opposed to confining the research to a single medical center’s population.
To summarize, CORE consists of the following:
- Rotation of host hospital’s rheumatologists into satellite clinics at various partnering hospitals/medical centers for several days per month per site. These visits will provide part-time rheumatology services in underserved areas without the partnering hospital needing to maintain a full-time rheumatology division.
- Funding for additional pediatric rheumatology fellowships, addressing the dire shortage of these specialists.
- Ability for host hospital’s rheumatologists to conduct research across a larger patient population and across a wider geographic area, leading to higher quality research and studies.
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Division of Rheumatology established satellite clinics in Long Beach, CA in 2005 and a second clinic in Las Vegas, NV in 2010. Both have operated successfully since they launched. Currently, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Division of Rheumatology provides the only pediatric rheumatology services available in the entire state of Nevada. JAA, in partnership with Lupus LA and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, aims to embark on a capital campaign to increase the size and scope of the CORE program, broadening its coverage area and ultimately making it financially self-sustaining. If successful, CORE will be developed into a national model and brought to key medical centers across the U.S.