Public Policy Position - Lung Health
DATE APPROVED: October 3, 2015
Policy Principle on Lung Health
The American Lung Association strongly supports measures to prevent lung disease, reduce the incidence and exacerbation of lung disease, improve the diagnosis and treatment of lung disease patients and increase their access to appropriate health care. Such measures should eliminate the disparity in lung disease morbidity and mortality prevalence for low socioeconomic and minority populations. In addition, the American Lung Association supports developing and implementing a strong, comprehensive public health response to lung disease including public and professional education and outreach, research, legislation, regulation and litigation.
Health Care Coverage and Access
The American Lung Association supports reforms to health insurance programs that ensure universal access to quality health care services, preventive care and appropriate specialty care for all consistent with national guidelines. The American Lung Association opposes discriminatory barriers to healthcare coverage.
Prescription Drug Coverage
The American Lung Association supports a fair, affordable prescription drug benefit for all.
Home Health Care/Durable Medical Equipment
The American Lung Association supports programs that provide care to chronically ill and home-based lung disease patients, including access to appropriate home oxygen equipment.
The American Lung Association supports access and coverage for pulmonary rehabilitation services for lung disease patients.
Oxygen for Airline Passengers
The American Lung Association supports measures to ensure access to oxygen and respiratory equipment for airline passengers with lung disease.
The American Lung Association supports research to improve the early detection of lung cancer to increase survival rates and reduce mortality.
Lung Cancer Screening Coverage
The American Lung Association supports access to low-dose CT screening for the recommended high risk population. The American Lung Association supports research to develop additional risk-based criteria that allows for inclusion of other high risk groups.
The American Lung Association supports measures to improve lung cancer treatment to increase survival rates and reduce mortality.
Asthma and Children
All schools/school systems and child care settings (including sports and recreation activities) should adopt and implement an evidence-based comprehensive plan for the management of asthma:
• Identify and track all students with a diagnosis of asthma.
• Obtain and ensure the use of an individualized Asthma Action Plan for all students with asthma.
• Establish standard emergency protocols.
• Educate all school personnel (especially health personnel, physical educators and coaches) about asthma, including how to respond to an emergency
• Provide a full-time registered nurse in every school, every day, all day.
• Ensure students have immediate access to quick-relief medications.
• Ensure that students whose asthma is not under good control are provided selfmanagement education and case management
• Establish standard emergency protocols
School and Child Care Facility Environments
Schools and child care facilities should be safe and healthful environments. The American Lung Association supports the adoption of protective indoor air quality guidelines for schools and child care facilities. The American Lung Association supports policies that protect students and faculty from elevated levels of outdoor air pollution.
Public Health Programs
The American Lung Association supports funding the asthma public health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that includes increased surveillance, improved health tracking and funding for state and local planning and programs and public health interventions in every state.
Population-based Asthma Screening
The American Lung Association does not support the use of public funds for populationbased asthma screening as an effective means of identifying people with asthma. The natural history of asthma is not well defined, and no simple screening test or examination currently exists.
The American Lung Association supports awareness campaigns that focus on individuals. With limited resources, priority should be placed on increasing awareness of asthma symptoms and appropriate asthma management and on securing funding to ensure proper diagnosis and appropriate care.
The American Lung Association supports the implementation of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma for all patients.
Asthma Educators Reimbursement
The American Lung Association supports appropriate reimbursement for asthma patient education services delivered by certified asthma educators.
CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE
The American Lung Association supports measures to ensure the appropriate use of spirometry as a diagnostic tool for lung disease.
Public Health Programs
The American Lung Association supports the creation and funding of a COPD program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that includes the development of a national COPD action plan, increased surveillance and funding for state and local programs and public health interventions.
The American Lung Association supports measures to achieve the goal of eliminating tuberculosis, including Multi-Drug Resistant TB and Extensive Drug Resistant TB.
The American Lung Association supports measures to increase the rate of immunization, especially among children and high risk individuals. The American Lung Association supports universal immunization for appropriate candidates including health care workers.
The American Lung Association supports the development and testing of plans and funding to prepare for an influenza pandemic.
MARIJUANA AND LUNG HEALTH
• Since marijuana smoke harms lung health, the American Lung Association opposes the inhalation of smoke or aerosol of marijuana.
• The American Lung Association supports measures to require totally smokefree environments, including marijuana.
• Medical marijuana should be subjected to the same Food and Drug Administration standards of efficacy and safety as any pharmaceutical agent promoted for purposes of alleviating the symptoms of disease.
• The American Lung Association supports research into the health effects of marijuana use, including the risks and any potential benefits of medical marijuana use.
Page Last Updated: December 7, 2018
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