Quest Diagnostics, through the Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) initiative, has teamed up with Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) to offer no-cost diagnostic testing services to support Biopsies Save Lives. This multidisciplinary program will offer no-cost testing to patients in Southern California who are low-income, uninsured, and underinsured and who have rare erosive and blistering diseases, to enable more timely diagnosis of these conditions.
Pemphigus and pemphigoid are rare autoimmune diseases that are potentially fatal if undiagnosed or untreated. People with these diseases must often see multiple healthcare providers before seeing a specialist and receiving a diagnosis. People of color are more likely to be misdiagnosed or experience delays in diagnosis because differences in pigmentation can affect the appearance of dermatologic diseases.
“The time it takes to get a correct diagnosis can be critical for people who are working-class or living in poverty. Compounding this, people of color are more likely to have delays in diagnosis because pathologic conditions can manifest differently on dark skin and mucosa, and healthcare professionals are trained mostly to diagnose them on white patients,” said WesternU Health Oral Pathology Laboratory Director Mark Mintline, DDS. “We are grateful for the support from Quest and its Quest for Health Equity initiative, as it will help eliminate a barrier to diagnosis and enable us to expedite the treatment of patients suffering from these diseases.”
The collaboration between Q4HE and WesternU, with additional support from the International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation (IPPF) and the University of California Irvine (UCI) Health Dermatology Immunobullous Clinic, aims to accelerate diagnosis times and help reduce the number of doctors needed to get a diagnosis. Local healthcare providers will be able to refer patients for intraoral biopsies and serum testing without worrying about the cost of laboratory tests thanks to no-cost diagnostic testing provided through the Q4HE initiative.
“We believe good healthcare should be in reach for everyone, and we are proud to support this important program to give access to lab testing that will help provide care to underserved patients in Southern California suffering from these rare autoimmune diseases,” said Michael Floyd, Senior Director and Leader, Q4HE. “We are hopeful that we can help break down some of the barriers to healthcare access that these patients are experiencing by making diagnostic testing more accessible.”
Biopsies Save Lives also connects patients to the IPPF, which offers peer coaching, patient education webinars, support groups, publications, and a network of doctors who are experienced in treating pemphigus and pemphigoid patients. This includes expert dermatologists from UCI Health Dermatology, which specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of acquired autoimmune blistering diseases. WesternU also provides medical interpreters to facilitate communication between patients, doctors, and staff to ensure high-quality care.
To learn more about the Biopsies Save Lives program, visit www.pemphigus.org/biopsies-save-lives/.