COLUMBUS — State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today announced the unanimous passage of House Bill (HB) 185, her bipartisan legislation to designate the month of March as Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. The bill was originally brought forward by Rep. Randi Clites in the 133rd General Assembly and passed the House unanimously 95-0 as an amendment to HB 358.
“I am honored to carry this bill forward on behalf of Representative Clites and especially the bleeding disorder community because they deserve to have a voice as they continue to fight to increase awareness, lower healthcare costs, and improve quality of care,” said Rep. Sweeney. “Bleeding disorders have painful and costly effects on those who live with them every day of their lives. They can occur in anyone and can take years to accurately diagnose. It’s estimated that 1% of the population has a bleeding disorder, and raising awareness is an important step toward better and more affordable treatments.”
Bleeding disorders are a group of conditions that result when the blood cannot clot properly. The two main types of bleeding disorders are Hemophilia and von Willebrand Disease (vWd). Hemophilia affects about 1,200 patients in Ohio, which is in the top three largest state populations in the country. There are approximately 1,500 vWd patients treated in Ohio, although it is estimated to affect 1% of the population. It can take up to 16 years to get an accurate diagnosis.
“The bleeding disorders community is a small but mighty advocacy force. When my son was born with hemophilia with no family history, I learned very quickly how the community rallies around its own,” said Rep. Clites, now the Program Manager at the Northern Ohio Hemophilia Foundation, which is located in Rep. Sweeney’s district. “It has been an honor to serve in both roles as an advocate and a State Representative to raise awareness for bleeding disorders. Thank you to Rep. Sweeney for carrying on this important legislation.”
There are dramatically higher rates of bleeding disorders in Ohio than in most other states due to their prevalence in the Amish community. Outside of the physical and emotional toll taken by bleeding disorders, there are also major financial burdens. Express Scripts estimates the average annual cost per patient with hemophilia at over $270,000.
HB 185 now awaits further consideration before the Ohio Senate.