By Sara Browning
At a time when health care is changing,
The Bleeding & Clotting Disorders Institute in Peoria is assisting
patients in making the transition while providing expert, comprehensive
care to increase their quality of life.
Delivering Personalized Health Care
Founded April 5, 2010, The Bleeding & Clotting Disorders Institute
exists to provide professional, family-oriented care for patients
experiencing bleeding, clotting, and other blood disorders. The
nonprofit multidisciplinary evaluation, treatment, and research facility
provides health care services and education, coordinating care in
collaboration with health care professionals to help patients experience
life to its fullest.
“We do everything to ensure the best
possible care for our patients,” says Dr. Michael Tarantino, Medical
Director and Founder of BCDI. “BCDI is the only recognized bleeding and
clotting disorders center outside of Cook County. For this reason, part
of our mission is to reach out to underserved areas in Illinois through
our awareness campaign. Twice a month we pack up our clinic and visit
cities and towns as far north as Rockford and as far south as
Springfield to provide treatment and education. We are working on a
telemedicine program in the southern part of the state. We have a job to
do, and BCDI will do what it takes to bring healing and education to
people across the state.”
Dawning of an Era
The importance of bleeding and clotting disorder clinics similar to
BCDI in the United States was first realized in the 1960s when Dr.
Judith Graham Pool, an American scientist and professor of Medicine at
Stanford University, accidentally discovered how to isolate the missing
protein that causes blood to clot in hemophilia patients. Hemophilia is
an inherited disease caused by a deficiency in one of the proteins
needed for blood to clot, resulting in prolonged bleeding into the
joints, muscles, or body organs.
This accidental discovery led
to a new era of physician treatment of patients with the disease. The
availability of the missing clotting factor has enabled hemophiliacs to
treat themselves at home with injections, reducing both the length of
hospitalization and the cost of treatment.
“Before Dr. Pool’s
discovery, if patients with hemophilia suffered a serious hemorrhage,
and if they survived, they would usually remain in the hospital for a
couple of weeks or more,” says Dr. Tarantino. “Some patients would
experience traction, lose muscle mass, and become disabled. Dr. Pool’s
discovery led to the existence of comprehensive care centers of
excellence like BCDI. Today, these care centers exist to empower
patients with hemophilia to take care of themselves.”
late 1970s to mid 1980s, clotting factor concentrates became
contaminated with HIV. In response, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau
(MCHB) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set up
programs to administer and monitor the safety of clotting treatment
through Comprehensive Care Clinics.
Following the contamination
of the clotting factors, the inception of Hemophilia Treatment Centers
of Excellence took place. BCDI is one of 143 federally recognized
Hemophilia Treatment Centers of Excellence in the country, and the only
one in downstate Illinois. For more information on hemophilia, visit
Experiencing Expert Care
BCDI provides expert, state-of-the-art care, collaborating with other
bleeding and clotting disorder centers to develop the best practices to
markedly enhance patient treatment. “We have networks of doctors in the
country that focus on treating blood disorders even more rare than
hemophilia in order to administer the best care possible,” explains Dr.
Tarantino. “Health care is a right, but it is also a commodity. Patients
must go to a place where the practitioners and staff are specially
When it comes to delivering expert care to
patients with rare blood disorders, BCDI continually surpasses
expectations. An award winning, nationally recognized hematologist
appointed as a representative on the board of directors of the Medical
and Scientific Advisory Council (MASAC) of the National Hemophilia
Foundation (NHF), Dr. Tarantino’s work to combat hemophilia, Idiopathic
Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) and other blood disorders has led to
advanced research on behalf of patients living with these diseases.
One of Dr. Tarantino’s signature contributions to the hemophilia
community was his role as lead investigator for the clinical development
of the first fully synthetic blood factor product. Today, it is the
primary product used to treat and prevent bleeding in hemophilia
patients. In honor of his contributions to patients with this disease,
Dr. Tarantino was awarded the highest honor in the bleeding disorders
community: the prestigious Kenneth Brinkhous Physician of the Year
Award, in 2012.
Additionally, BCDI delivers expert care by
striving to remain on the cutting edge of ITP research and treatment.
ITP is an acquired blood disorder that causes easy or excessive bruising
and bleeding due to unusually low platelet levels.
Tarantino has been involved in treatment that increases platelet
production in persons with ITP and has served as the lead investigator
on an international study to help children with the disease. In
addition, Dr. Tarantino is collaborating with Dr. Greg Gerstner to form
the first ITP comprehensive care clinic in the country.
published between 40 and 50 articles related to ITP in medical journals
and having given numerous presentations on the disorder, Dr. Tarantino
says BCDI has treated ITP patients across the country, even as far away
as California, and partners closely with the Platelet Disorders Support
Association (PDSA) and has served on PDSA’s Medical Advisory Board for
the past decade. For more information, visit www.pdsa.org.
experts in their field, the physicians and staff at BCDI are heavily
involved with community education. For the past four years, BCDI has
participated in the Women’s Lifestyle Show and other area conventions to
promote awareness of von Willebrand Disease (VWD) and other bleeding
disorders in women.
According to Dr. Tarantino: “People with VWD
take longer to stop bleeding than normal. Heavy menstrual bleeding is
one of the symptoms. At BCDI, we work with women’s gynecologists to
avoid unnecessary surgery to treat heavy menstrual bleeding.”
Tested and Proven
BCDI’s stellar reputation would not be possible without the help of
trained medical professionals on staff. “The National Hemophilia
Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board uses guidelines for training
purposes as well as for specific credentials that bleeding disorder
centers’ staff and physicians must have in order to treat patients,”
explains Dr. Tarantino.
Dr. Tarantino has extensive training in
the specialty of bleeding and clotting disorders. He completed a
fellowship in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University of
Wisconsin in 1993 and is currently a professor of Pediatrics and
Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria.
Today, he has 24 years of experience caring for children and adults with
bleeding and clotting disorders. BCDI’s 20-member staff encompasses 160
years cumulative experience in bleeding and clotting disorders.
As health care continues to move forward with the advent of the
Affordable Care Act, nurse coordinators and medical social workers help
patients navigate through the recent changes in Medicaid, changes
implemented by the Affordable Care Act and similar reforms taking place
in the private insurance market.
“With the changing health care
environment, I think people really need to exercise caution about which
health care plan they choose and look carefully at the qualifications of
different physicians,” says Dr. Tarantino. “BCDI is here to help
patients in every way possible. Whether transitioning to a more
affordable health care plan, finding the right specialist or reaching
out to the community, we make patients’ quality of life our number one
Michael D. Tarantino, MD, completed his residency
in pediatrics at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in
1990. He is currently a professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the
University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is board-certified in
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and brings 24 years of experience caring
for children and adults with bleeding and clotting disorders.
For more information on Bleeding & Clotting Disorders Institute, visit www.ilbcdi.org
or call 309-692-5337 or toll free at 877-335-2234. Office hours are
from 8 a.m.– 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. BCDI is located at 6811 North
Knoxville, Peoria, IL.