Patient Access to Guidelines-Level Care

nihGuidelinesThe National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), issued the first Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma in 1991. As research advanced through the years, the Guidelines were updated, most recently as Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR3). This research-based report offers step-by-step instructions for treating asthma.

The Guidelines prioritize steps to diagnose and individually treat asthma symptoms so that patients require the least amount of medication to achieve maximum results. Federally funded research and programs have demonstrated repeatedly that the Guidelines work and save money: Once symptoms are stabilized and causative factors have been resolved, maintaining symptom-free days and nights becomes routine and cost effective.

Ironically, many patients from all walks of life and with all types of insurance – including federally funded programs such as Medicare and Medicaid — are denied Guidelines-level care, such as access to specialists and appropriate medications. Short-sighted health policies based on short-term savings are too expensive for America’s economy.

The sooner we adopt Guidelines-level care for all patients, the sooner we’ll start reducing asthma’s $20 billion annual price tag; children and families will experience fewer symptoms and get back to school and work; and asthma deaths will be eradicated. Anything less is a waste of federally funded research and proven programs.

Guideline Cheat Sheet

  1. Order the full 326-page report or the 74-page summary. You can also download pdf copies online. They’re free — click here to order or download your copy.
  2. Read it cover-to-cover if you’re so moved, or choose to supplement information from your healthcare provider. (Tip: Print it out using a color printer – some of the charts are color-coded.) The Summary Report contains vital information written for doctors, so if you don’t understand it all – that’s okay. Your healthcare provider should be able to decode anything that’s unclear to you.
  3. Mark these pages for easy reference:
    Pages 6-7 – An easy-to-read chart of age-by-age management steps
    Page 17 – Patient Self-Assessment Sheet
    Pages 20-21 – Sample Asthma Action Plans – for adults and children
    Page 26-27 – How to control things that make your asthma worse
    Page 60 – Illustrated Steps for Using Your Inhaler