LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - State employees and teachers now have another option for orthopedic treatment thanks to a new bill signed into law this month.
Representative Scott Baltz of Pocahontas wrote House Bill 2014, which is now Act 1089.
It requires state and public school life and health insurance companies to pay for new stem cell treatments and therapies.
Baltz explained that instead of having surgery to fix orthopedic injuries, doctors can take stem cells from a person's blood, make plasma out of them, and inject it into the affected area.
"It's so much cheaper and less invasive than surgery," Baltz said.
There is also no risk of staph infection or the body rejecting the plasma since it's the patient's own cells.
"I had a family member that had an issue with their back," Baltz said. "They had this done, and in 10 days they were pain-free, and now they're four years out, and they're still pain-free. So it works. The surgery would have been anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000. We got them fixed for $1,700."
Baltz wanted all Arkansas insurance companies to cover this treatment, but right now state and school insurance companies will do a study beginning in 2018 to see how well it works.
"And keep track of the success and the failures, and hopefully there's very few," he said.
He hopes to expand the program in the future, saying insurance should pay for something that could help many people.
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