ATLANTA (March 27, 2019) – The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta announced today it will expand its sickle cell and hematology program to include outpatient services beginning March 27. The Columbus Sickle Cell Clinic will be operated by Aflac Cancer Center pediatric hematologists and nurses with the goal of better serving children and families in the Columbus area.
The outpatient clinic, located across from the Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown Campus, will provide clinical services for the more than 150 patients in the Columbus area. Four primary hematologists will operate the clinic, and staff will communicate with the patients’ primary care and hospital doctors to coordinate care locally and with services in the Atlanta hospitals – including transfusions, surgery and special tests – when needed.
“We are excited to expand our services to current Aflac sickle cell and hematology patient families living near Columbus who have been making the long trip to and from our Atlanta clinics,” said Karen Wasilewski, M.D., Medical Director of the Aflac Cancer Center and one of the four hematologists on staff in the Columbus clinic. “This clinic increases access to high-quality preventative care and health-maintenance essential to the well-being of our patients with sickle cell disease. We are looking forward to making a difference in the lives of new patients and families in the area who were previously not able to commute to meet with our sickle cell care team.”
Funding to operate the new outpatient clinic has been provided by Piedmont Columbus Regional Foundation through the Ben Koon Pediatric Oncology Endowment Fund. The fund was named in honor of Ben Koon, the grandson of Robert and Joyce Koon, who established the fund to benefit others in need. Children’s and Piedmont Columbus Regional announced a formal affiliation agreement in April 2018 with the goal of furthering high-quality pediatric care.
“Our family experienced pain, struggle and expense due to the lack of treatment in Columbus and we know there are other sickle cell patients with no pediatric hematologist available to treat them,” said Robert Koon. “This clinic will provide support, treatment and hope for many children in the Columbus region. Our grandson would be very pleased to know he was the motivation to make this clinic possible.”
“As home to our corporate headquarters, the city of Columbus is special to us, so the opening of this outpatient clinic is meaningful to our entire Aflac family committed to helping defeat childhood cancer and blood disorders, and in particular, sickle cell disease,” said Dan Amos, Aflac Chairman and CEO. “We could not be more proud of how many patients and families we’ve impacted through our long-term partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and how many more we’ll reach in the future with sickle cell services now in our own backyard.”
The clinic will operate on the fourth and fifth Wednesday of every month from the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. To make an appointment for an established Aflac Cancer Center sickle cell patient, please call 404-785-3561. To make a patient referral to the newly opened Columbus sickle cell clinic, please fax the following documents to 404-785-3790: patient demographics, insurance information, reason for referral and clinical notes.