Healthcare Systems and Financing

The American Lung Association worked with partners to develop the National Asthma Public Policy Agenda to reduce the suffering and death from asthma. We hope that groups and individuals who care about asthma will embrace the recommendations found in the Agenda and push to get them put in place nationwide. The policy agenda recognizes that, to succeed in our fight against asthma, we must make changes at the federal, state, and local levels, and usually, we act on many issues at the same time.

The healthcare system plays an important role in the fight against asthma. Access to quality care should be available and affordable to all. healthcare delivery should be culturally competent and standardized data should be collected to facilitate identification of and action on health disparities. It is important to note that the healthcare system alone cannot fully address the burden of asthma on patients, families and communities. It needs to be part of a more comprehensive public health approach.

By encouraging policymakers to push for a strong and affordable healthcare system, you can help those affected by asthma and other lung diseases. Here are 3 policy recommendations relating to healthcare found in the National Asthma Policy Agenda:

  1. All healthcare systems, including public and private providers, purchasers and payers, should provide access to services and medications consistent with the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines. Many children and adults do not receive the healthcare needed to control their asthma. Asthma is not a “one size fits all” disease and patients should have access to adequate care, medications, and education.

    Strategies:

    • Provide self-management education using evidence-based interventions by trained health professionals as a standard of care
    • Develop and use asthma action plans for all patients
    • Ensure that pharmacy formularies include a full range of medication options for quick-relief and long-term control of asthma
    • Provide case management, including home-based environmental assessment and remediation, for high-risk patients and those whose asthma is not under good control
    • Provide tobacco dependence treatment and pharmacological therapy to smokers who have asthma or who have family members with asthma
  2. Standardized national performance measures should be adopted for monitoring and evaluating asthma quality of care. Performance measures can be used to inform consumer choice, identify areas for improvement, examine whether the quality of care is improving, and to reward providers for providing better care.

    Strategies:

    • Revise/expand/develop the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) and other national measures aligned with national standards to better measure performance
    • Ensure consistency and alignment of process and outcomes measures across all levels of the healthcare system
  3. Promote quality improvement activities and develop and disseminate tools that support achievement of performance goals. Support for these activities can help make sure the quality of care is at its best and that individuals can take control over their asthma.

    Strategies:

    • Facilitate the use of healthcare system data for surveillance of asthma care
    • Require comprehensive reporting of healthcare system data.
    • Ensure competency and collaboration of healthcare workers across settings of care
    • Provide well-designed incentive programs for the delivery of evidence-based care