July 21, 2016
Asthma in Schools Bill Builds Momentum
Due to the grassroots efforts of AAAAI members and RSLs, H.R. 4662, the School-Based Asthma Management Program Act, has attracted 47 bipartisan co-sponsors. Authored by Representative Phil Roe (R-TN), this legislation aims to improve health and school-related outcomes for children with asthma, and focuses on integrated care coordination amongst families, clinicians and school nurses. Endorsed by the AAAAI and National Association of School Nurses (NASN), H.R. 4662 is one aspect of the presidential initiatives of AAAAI Immediate Past-President Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD, FAAAAI. It also complements recommendations set forth in the School-based Asthma Management Program (SAMPRO™), which will be detailed in a paper due to be published in the September issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders in childhood in the United States, affecting approximately seven million children. Of these, four million suffered an asthma attack or episode in the past year due to their poorly controlled condition. Asthma causes 10.5 million missed school days and costs the U.S. $56 billion in healthcare expenditures. Many of these costs are preventable, especially when as asthma educator is utilized.
The School Asthma Management Plan Act allows schools to apply for grants that help them: 1) develop asthma management plans, and 2) purchase medication and equipment necessary to treat students affected by asthma.
• Develop and implement school asthma management plan—Schools shall use grant money to develop asthma management plans based on national guidelines that include, among other provisions, methods for identifying all students with asthma diagnoses, implementing asthma education for all staff, providing access to medication and methods to administer medication for all affected students, and developing medication and emergency policies specific to each school.
• Purchase asthma medications and devices—Schools shall also use grant funds to purchase asthma inhalers, spacers, air purifiers, asthma education materials, and other supplies necessary for the relief and treatment of affected students.
• Improve communication and coordination—Schools receiving grants shall find ways to encourage bidirectional communication between schools and physicians, and improve adherence to asthma treatment my students. Schools shall also utilize existing systems and resources when possible.
April 22, 2015
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Asthma Management Plan Act on April 22 with Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Bob Casey (D-PA).
The AAAAI is on the record as a supporter of the bill, having submitted an official letter of support to Senator Gillibrand. In it, AAAAI President Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD, FAAAAI, states: “As the current president of the AAAAI, this bill is of great interest to me personally since my major presidential initiative focuses on the creation of the Office of School-based Management of Asthma and Allergic/Immunologic Diseases within the AAAAI to serve as a resource for the creation of programs to establish optimal clinician-school nurse-family communications to better care for children with asthma in the school setting.”
Read the AAAAI’s letter of support.