Funding Streams for Asthma Patient Education

Worn down by the dead-ending grant-cycle bicycle? Well, here's an idea that may help...Read on:

Patient education, we know,is absolutely essential to help control asthma...and to control the enormous economic and psycho-social impacts of asthma. Yet, in my experience as a primary care pediatrician and director of the pediatric asthma program for a 6-office community clinic organization in Los Angeles, I find that there are virtually no permanent funding streams for asthma patient education.  This is especially true for patients with managed-care insurance (HMOs) and for those in public programs such as Medicaid. The details don't need detailing here. The consequences are serious...and the situation is frustrating.

Do you share that view, concern and frustration?

If so, here is a proposal for launching a movement to address this dilemma:  As health care reform is being built, those of us attending the National Asthma Forum, along with other grassroots asthma advocates, need to call upon all governmental and private non-profit and for-profit agencies, organizations and businesses involved with asthma and the promotion of health and healthcare to collaborate and support:

1. The creation of permanent funding streams for research in effective asthma patient education at the clinical levels and public levels;

2. The creation of permanent funding streams for proven programs/approaches for asthma patient education.

What do you think?

I agree that there must be some consistant funding for asthma education. As an AEC in an asthma specialty clinic, we recieve patients who are not controlled in their symptoms and find they have never been taught how to use their meds properly, why they are using the meds, the potential consequences for not adhering to their asthma plans (like airway remodeling), their allergy triggers and how to houseproof for them. The difference once educated is just amazing at times. I'm sure that the money in ED visits, hospitalizations etc saved by education is huge, way more than reimbursing for education, not to mention the improved quality of life for the pt.  Seems that some groups have been able to show their local insurers the cost effectiveness and have gotten them to pay. But it really needs to be nationwide. Thanks for your efforts toward this.

Asthma is a scary disease.  My brother suffered from Asthma and allergies and had 22 cases of pneumonia when he was a kid.  He was in the hospital with pneumonia the first time at 6 months of age.  I also have a good friend who died in her late teens during an asthma attack.  Not being able to breathe is one of the scariest thing a human being can experience and more needs to be done for asthma sufferers.




I think you are right on, especially by first mentioning funding streams for research examining the effectiveness of different levels of education. 

If you can show that a certain education program saves money in the long run, it's an easy (edit: "easier") sell to insurers who should then want to enroll their patients in that particular education program (for the patient's own good, and their businesses bottom line).



I am wondering if you can estimate a realistic case load for a AE-C or nurse providing asthma self-management education (or to parents) in the clinic. More precisely, how many patients could a FT provider carry for the year (I realize that this varies - depending on number of visits and length of visits).

Looking on guidance. Thank you.