The Rady Children’s led Project Baby Bear resulted in improved health outcomes for 178 critically-ill babies and medical cost savings of $2.5 million.
Our work with 5 participating children’s hospitals was funded by the State of California to provide rapid Whole Genome Sequencing (rWGS) for children enrolled in Medi-Cal. Analysis showed the project resulted in faster diagnoses, better health outcomes, reduced suffering, and a decreased cost of care.
Inspired by Project Baby Bear’s success, legislation has been proposed to make rapid Whole Genome Sequencing a covered Medi-Cal benefit.
Project Baby Bear helped doctors identify the exact cause of rare, genetic diseases in an average of three days, instead of the four to six weeks standard genetic testing offers. This allowed physicians to deliver timely treatment targeted at the baby’s specific condition.
Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine provided rWGS for 178 babies eligible for Medi-Cal, resulting in a diagnosis for 43% that explained the reason for the infant’s admission to the hospital and changes in medical management for 31%.
In addition, the use of rWGS led to substantial reductions in healthcare spending—$2.5 million—largely because rWGS permitted doctors to discharge babies sooner (513 fewer hospital days) and reduce the number of invasive procedures that might otherwise have been performed in pursuit of a diagnosis.
“Our partnership with the Project Baby Bear Initiative significantly shortens the path to a diagnosis and enables physicians to better treat their patients. It also lightens the burden of uncertainty for parents whose child is suffering from a rare disease.”
– Mario Rojas, MD, NICU Medical Director,
Valley Children’s Hospital