Access to Care, Step Therapy Reform Are Among Key Issues At Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill on May 8



VIENNA, VA, April 24, 2019 – More than 25 million Americans have asthma and 50+ million have allergies, but not all have equal access to high-quality healthcare. Addressing these disparities and expanding the availability of safe, effective and affordable medications and treatments are among the top issues at Allergy & Asthma Network’s 22nd annual Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill (#AADCH2019) on Wednesday, May 8 in Washington, D.C.

During #AADCH2019, patients, families, healthcare providers, industry professionals and patient advocates canvas Capitol Hill to meet one-on-one with federal legislators and their staff to help raise awareness of and discuss legislation to end needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.

Allergy & Asthma Network scheduled more than 120 visits this year with members of Congress. The Network will also host #AADCH2019 Breakfast Briefing and its annual Congressional Lunch Briefing featuring patient testimonials and presentations by healthcare professionals.

Rising costs for healthcare services and health insurance premiums represent a growing burden for many families with asthma and allergies. It can result in patients forgoing prescription medications and delaying follow-up care, leading to poorer health outcomes.

“Access to high-quality, affordable healthcare is essential for patients with asthma and allergies – these are chronic conditions that often require regular doctor appointments and daily treatment to control symptoms,” says Tonya Winders, President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. “We’re headed to Capitol Hill to advocate for policies that help patients better afford their medicines as well as innovative treatments that have emerged in recent years.”

The Network also supports legislation to prevent step therapy policies by health insurance companies. In Congress, Reps. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) introduced the Safe Step Act, or HR 2279, which requires health plans to provide an exceptions process for any medication step therapy protocol.

Step therapy, also called “fail first,” is a process used by health insurance providers to control costs. It occurs when insurers require patients to fail the first step of treatment, typically a low-cost medication, before moving on to a second step, even when the doctor and patient have agreed step two is the best treatment. Step two is often a more expensive medication for the insurer to cover.

“Step therapy compromises treatment options by denying the patient the proper medication recommended by the doctor,” Winders says. “It can be dangerous, time-consuming and lead to increased costs for the patient.”

Another key #AADCH2019 issue is the modernization of food labels to include sesame and allergen cross contact information. Sesame is not recognized as a major food allergen in the United States unlike many other countries. In Congress, Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act, or HR 2117, which requires that sesame be added to the list of eight allergens for which labeling is currently authorized. The bill would also provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with funding to conduct data on allergy prevalence. Allergy & Asthma Network supports this legislation.

In addition, the Network continues to support federal funding for asthma and allergy health and research programs conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency and CDC.

For a complete list of #AADCH2019 issues and priorities, visit AADCH.org.

After meeting with members of Congress, #AADCH2019 advocates are invited to attend an informal networking reception at the Liaison Hotel, 415 New Jersey Avenue NW, on Capitol Hill. During the reception, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will present the annual EPA National Environmental Leadership Awards in Asthma Management to three deserving programs.

In addition to the work asthma and allergy advocates will do on Capitol Hill on May 8, advocates and supporters across the country can participate in #AADCH2019 virtually by contacting their elected officials at AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org/Advocacy (click “Take Action”).

 

Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


7:00 – 8:30 am

Breakfast Briefing

Liaison Hotel

415 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Prepare for Congressional visits and review policy priorities.

Speakers include:

  • Tonya Winders, President and CEO, Allergy & Asthma Network
  • Michael Bowman, MD, Past President of Association of Asthma Educators
  • Charmayne Anderson, Director of Advocacy, Allergy & Asthma Network
  • Patient Testimonies 

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Capitol Hill Visits

Meet with members of Congress and staff individually or in a group. Meetings will be scheduled based on attendee’s congressional district when registering unless prior arrangements made. 


12 noon – 1:00 pm

Congressional Lunch Briefing
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2044
75 C Street SW, Washington, DC
Join Congressional Asthma & Allergy Caucus representatives, patients and families, patient advocates and industry leaders to hear about key issues addressing asthma and allergy. Free lunch provided.

Speakers include:

  • Tonya Winders, President and CEO, Allergy & Asthma Network
  • Todd Mahr, MD, President, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
  • LeRoy Graham, Founder of Not One More Life and member of the Board of Regents, American Thoracic Society
  • Patient Testimonies

5:00 – 7:00 pm

Networking Reception
Liaison Hotel

Meet with fellow advocates, healthcare professionals and industry leaders in an informal gathering. During the reception, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will present the annual EPA National Environmental Leadership Awards in Asthma Management to three deserving programs.


AADCH Sponsors

Aimmune; American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; Association of Asthma Educators; AstraZeneca; CHEST Foundation; DBV Technologies; GlaxoSmithKline; Novartis; Sanofi Regeneron; TEVA Respiratory

 


About Allergy & Asthma Network

Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. The Network specializes in sharing practical, patient-friendly, medically reviewed information through its award-winning Allergy & Asthma Today magazine, AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org, E-newsletter and numerous community outreach programs.

Follow Allergy & Asthma Network on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram at @AllergyAsthmaHQ. Join the Network at AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org/join.