Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Brief Blog: California Legislature Approves $2M for Whole Genome Sequencing in Rare Diseases

Not "new news" but here's a link to a June 22, 2018, article that the California legislature had approved a $2M pilot program to provide whole genome sequencing (WGS) to patients with rare diseases in the MediCal program (California Medicaid). 

The program is summarized as:  "The pilot project will serve a minimum of 100 Medi-Cal neonatal and pediatric patients with undiagnosed diseases that have either remained undiagnosed, or had multiple incorrect diagnoses. These patients will be tested using cWGS as a first line diagnostic test. Regular reports to the Legislature and the state Department of Health Services will be required to provide tight oversight on the project’s progress and patient treatment adjustments. The goal of this proof of concept project is to demonstrate both the clinical benefits for Medi-Cal patients and financial benefits for the program as a whole."

Similarly, an incubating House propose in D.C. would providing optional funding for states that wanted to provide WGS to children in their Medicaid programs; see H.R. 5062 sponsored by Rep. Swallwell (here, here).

The California genomics industry is split between the SF and San Diego areas; for example, Thermo Fisher and Illumina have larger centers in both locations.   A recent report attributed the genomics industry as having a $5.6B impact on the San Diego area (here).