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Fewer Hospitalizations, Healthier Patients with Asthma Guidelines-based Care: Project Identifies Patient Access to Life-saving Treatment

American Lung Association project to open dialogue with asthma experts, community on patient access to quality asthma care

(June 29, 2016) - CHICAGO

For more information please contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

Asthma is a serious chronic lung disease that makes it harder to move air in and out of your lungs, and can be life threatening if not managed properly. An estimated 24 million Americans live with asthma, and while asthma cannot be cured, it can be effectively managed with care based on the nationally recognized guidelines for diagnosing and managing asthma. The American Lung Association's Asthma Care Coverage Project seeks to begin a dialogue about patient access to this potentially life-saving care.

"Oftentimes, people may underestimate the burden of asthma for those living with the disease," said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. "As the third-leading cause of hospitalizations for children and a leading cause of school absenteeism, it's critical for patients' health to have access to evidence-based best practices."

Numerous research studies have demonstrated that adherence to guidelines-based care results in better patient outcomes, including fewer hospitalizations, fewer days of missed school and work and reduced treatment costs. It has not previously been known to what extent guidelines-based care is being covered by state Medicaid programs as the standard of care. With a mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, the American Lung Association is seeking to learn more about patient access to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families.

As part of its overall Asthma Care Coverage Project, the American Lung Association tracks state Medicaid coverage and any related barriers to seven different areas of care taken from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program's (NAEPP) guidelines, including quick relief medications, controller medications, devices, allergy testing, allergen immunotherapy, home visits and interventions and self-management education.

Access to asthma guidelines-based care is especially critical for those with Medicaid, as asthma rates are disproportionately high in low-income and minority populations, and low-income children and adults are more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than those with higher incomes. Accordingly, Medicaid was the most commonly expected primary payer for asthma-related hospital stays for both children and adults aged 18 to 44.

"Everyone deserves a chance to live a healthy life, and the American Lung Association hopes to begin a dialogue about ensuring everyone with asthma has access to guidelines-based care," Wimmer said. "Through this project, we are bringing together the asthma public health community and Medicaid experts to collaboratively work for better outcomes for people with asthma."

To learn more about asthma guidelines-based care, visit

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health and asthma, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.

The Asthma Guidelines-Based Care Coverage Project—part of the American Lung Association's Asthma Care Coverage Project—is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38OT000224-03.


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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