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Philadelphia dermatologist recognized for providing free care for uninsured patients


The University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Cory Simpson receives national “Patient Care Hero” honor from the American Academy of Dermatology

Rosemont, Ill. – The American Academy of Dermatology has named board-certified dermatologist Cory Simpson, MD, PhD, FAAD, as a Patient Care Hero for his work providing free dermatologic care to uninsured patients in Philadelphia.

Dr. Simpson and his colleagues at Penn Dermatology use teledermatology— technology that can facilitate the remote diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions —to help patients at the Puentes de Salud (Bridges of Health) community health clinic. The mobile phone-based platform allows dermatologists to view photos of skin, hair, or nail conditions sent electronically by primary care physicians and other providers and give treatment recommendations and arrange follow-up care if needed. The Penn team of volunteer dermatologists also holds in-person appointments with patients with more complex disease or who do not see improvement despite initial recommendations.

All of the clinic’s patients lack insurance and most are immigrants who face cultural, language, and financial barriers to accessing health care. Clinic visits and teledermatology consultations with dermatologists are provided regardless of patients’ ability to pay.

“Because of our partnership with Puentes de Salud, patients can access dermatologists’ expertise in diagnosing and managing, painful, disfiguring, and even life-threatening skin conditions,” said Dr. Simpson. “Working in collaboration with primary care colleagues at Puentes de Salud allows me to use both my dermatologic and Spanish language skills to provide care to disadvantaged patients.”

For patients with stable, less severe skin conditions—such as mild acne or psoriasis—off-site dermatologists can recommend treatment plans via teledermatology that are implemented by primary care providers at Puentes de Salud. For more serious conditions, ranging from rare autoimmune diseases to skin cancers—or those not resolved by first-line treatments—the dermatologists can schedule in-office appointments during a monthly evening clinic.

The AAD supports the use of teledermatology to improve access to dermatologic care, patient care coordination, and communication between dermatologists and other physicians. Because the majority of cases seen by dermatologists at Puentes de Salud can be handled through teledermatology alone, the clinic was able to increase the availability of in-person dermatology appointments by 18% between January 2014 and July 2016.

The AAD created the Patient Care Heroes program to recognize physicians who transform patients’ lives by utilizing their expertise and collaborating with other physicians to treat serious skin disease.

“Dermatologic conditions affect people of all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, or insurance status,” said board-certified dermatologist George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD, president of the AAD. “Dermatologists like Dr. Simpson and his colleagues at Puentes de Salud are integral partners in care, providing critical diagnoses and treatment for underserved communities in Philadelphia.”

To learn more about Dr. Simpson’s work, visit https://www.aad.org/skinserious/stories-cory-simpson

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About SkinSerious
SkinSerious is a campaign by the American Academy of Dermatology that highlight dermatologists’ role as partners in the health care system, providing expert care for serious conditions. To learn more, visit SkinSerious.org

About the AAD
Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 20,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to excellence in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of skin disease; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in medical dermatology, surgical dermatology and dermatopathology; and supporting and enhancing patient care to reduce the burden of disease. For more information, contact the Academy at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), Instagram (@AADskin1) and YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).