Assemblymember Lowenthal poses with MemorialCare leadership.

Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal was recently honored with the 2024 MemorialCare Healthcare Leader Award for his ongoing commitment by working on legislation to make insurance plans accountable in providing coverage for critical medical treatment for children with the rare diagnosis of PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) and PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome), two debilitating pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders. This award, presented at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, celebrated Assemblymember Lowenthal’s unwavering commitment to improving healthcare access for vulnerable populations.

“It is an honor to recognize Assemblymember Lowenthal for his leadership to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and our communities as the 2024 MemorialCare Healthcare Leader Award recipient,” says Yair Katz, chief executive, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.

PANDAS and PANS are conditions characterized by sudden onset neuropsychiatric symptoms, including obsessions, compulsions and tics. These disorders, often triggered by infections, severely impact children’s lives, and require specialized medical attention. Despite their severity, insurance coverage for treatments has been limited, leaving families struggling to access essential care.

Assemblymember Lowenthal’s advocacy has been instrumental in addressing this gap in coverage. Through legislative initiatives such as AB 907 and AB 2105, he has championed the cause of families affected by PANDAS and PANS, pushing for increased awareness and accountability in insurance coverage for evidence-based treatments. By listening to the concerns of patients and collaborating with healthcare professions, Lowenthal has demonstrated his dedication to making a difference in the lives of children battling these disorders.

During his visit to Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital, Assemblymember Lowenthal participated in a roundtable discussion with hospital leadership, including Blair Kent, chief executive officer, Long Beach Medical Center, and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital; Yair Katz, chief executive, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital; Dinarte Viveiros, associate chief nurse officer, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital; and other key stakeholders. The visit also included a tour of the hospital’s newly opened Cherese Mari Laulhere Children’s Village, which offers a comprehensive range of over 30 distinct types of specialty clinics and services for children with complex medical needs.

Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital – one of only eight free-standing children’s hospitals in California – plays a crucial role in providing high-quality care to children locally and regionally from across Los Angeles and Orange Counties for specialty care, with 70% of children cared for are covered by Medi-Cal & CA Children’s Service (CCS). Lowenthal’s recognition by MemorialCare underscores the importance of advocating for equitable access to healthcare for all children, regardless of socioeconomic status.

In accepting the MemorialCare Healthcare Leader Award, Assemblymember Lowenthal expressed gratitude for the opportunity to make a positive impact on pediatric healthcare policy. He reiterated his commitment to continue fighting for the rights of families affected by PANDAS and PANS, ensuring that every child receives the care and support they deserve.

“As a legislator, it is my duty to be a voice for those who often go unheard,” says Josh Lowenthal, Assemblymember, 69th district. “Receiving the MemorialCare Healthcare Leader Award is not just an honor, but a reminder of the importance of fighting for equitable access to healthcare for every child, especially those facing the challenges of PANDAS and PANS. I remain committed to advocating for policies that ensure every child receives the care and support they need to thrive.”

Lowenthal’s dedication to improving healthcare outcomes for vulnerable populations serves a beacon of hope for families grappling with the challenges of pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders. His leadership exemplifies the vital role that legislators play in advocating for policies that prioritize the well-being of children and families in our communities.

“On behalf of our doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital, we thank Assemblymember Lowenthal for being a voice for families and kids,” says Yair Katz. “Together, will we continue to strive for policies that prioritize the well-being of all children in our communities.”