2016 Pediatric Asthma Education Conference

Pediatric Asthma Education Conference
Tuesday May 10, 2016
Lipscomb University Ezell Center

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The annual Pediatric Asthma Education Conference is designed for anyone who works with asthmatic children. It's a continuing education opportunity for providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, social workers, case managers, and students.

The online Conference Handbook includes the agenda, speakers, maps and more.

Download the latest conference agenda.

The conference fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments. Presentation handouts will be posted online prior to conference day for download but, if you prefer, a binder with hard copies may be purchased separately during the registration process. (See registration for details). Onsite registration opens at 8 a.m.

NOTE: The conference is in a different location on the Lipscomb campus than previous years. Use this link to see the campus map to find the Ezell building and free parking.

We did it! Asthma education provision passes Congress

Asthma is a leading cause of chronic school absenteeism, a medical condition that can seriously hinder a student’s academic success. Students miss 14 million days of school every year due to asthma, according to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program.

Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition, including  the  American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Lung Association, and the  leadership of United States Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Charles Schumer (D-NY), many more children suffering from asthma – a treatable, but un-curable condition – can lead active and productive lives in the classroom

The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes a provision that allows school districts to use federal education block grants to pay for the development and implementation of school asthma management plans, the key component Sen. Gillibrand’s School Asthma Management Plan Act.

There’s no doubt that schools can play a stronger role in asthma management for students, and new federal funding to create asthma management plans will allow schools to properly, quickly and efficiently respond to children suffering from the effects of asthma at school.

Several other provisions of the law provide vital support to students who are forced to miss valuable class time due to asthma. ESSA now requires schools with high numbers of low-income students to include “chronic absenteeism” as an indicator on school report cards. This provision represents the first time that a federal education law includes a requirement to measure attendance.  This is significant, because chronic absence is a crucial indicator of student and school success.

By tracking absences, school districts will have the tools to identify which students are missing school due to asthma and be able to provide them with services to keep them in the classroom.

The Department of Education will allocate grants based on needs, thereby giving money to the schools that need it the most.

Because asthma is one of the leading causes of chronic absenteeism, we think these provisions will go a long way in supporting the academic success of students with asthma.

Download the letter submitted by CALC here.


HUD regulation would stub out secondhand smoke in public housing

A new Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposal would require that all public housing be smokefree. See the proposed rule here. 

The proposal would protect an estimated 760,000 children from exposure to secondhand smoke. It would apply to public housing, but not all government subsidized housing, such as private rentals that accept vouchers. It would not apply to e-cigarettes or other novelty tobacco products.

Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children in the United States, and secondhand smoke is one of the most significant contributors to the disease. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that secondhand smoke worsens the symptoms of up to one million children each year.  African-American, Puerto Rican, and Hispanic children experience the highest rates of asthma.

The measure is expected to save $153 million per year in healthcare and housing costs.

Read the USA Today article, Obama administration proposes banning smoking in public housing.

Read the New York Times' article, Public Housing Nationwide May Be Subject to Smoking Ban.

Read more from First Focus.

HUD proposes rules to make public housing smoke-free

By Rricha Mathur, First Focus

Today the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a proposed rule to make public housing across the country smoke-free. If this rule is promulgated, it would have a profound impact on the health and well-being of children living in public housing.

Exposure to secondhand smoke is one of the most significant contributors toward childhood asthma in the United States. Overall, two in five children are exposed to secondhand smoke and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that secondhand smoke contributes to worsened asthma symptoms in 200,000 to one million children each year. Childhood asthma also disproportionately impacts children of color with 16 percent of African American and 16.5  percent of Puerto Rican children being diagnosed with asthma, compared to 8.2 percent of Asian and 7.9 percent of white children. Children with asthma miss more days of school and end up in the emergency room with regularity if their asthma is not treated appropriately.

The proposed HUD regulation has the potential to significantly improve the health of over 760,000 children who currently live in public housing and save over $152 million per year in health care, renovation and fire damage costs associated with smoking.

The proposed rule does not cover all government subsidized housing units, which would include Section 8 units. If the rule were to extend to those dwellings as well the impact would be much more far-reaching, with an estimated $497 million in cost savings, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and over three million children protected from secondhand smoke. The Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition has urged HUD to adopt smokefree policies for all government subsidized housing and hopes that this rulemaking will give other stakeholders the opportunity to stress this important point.

The proposed rule also does not prohibit the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), which include electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). E-cigarettes contain nicotine and other dangerous toxins that can have a permanent effect on the developing brain of adolescents. The notice makes this observation and invites comments on this issue to perhaps include a prohibition on e-cigarettes in the final rule.

Finally, the proposed rule does not prohibit all public housing tenants from smoking. Smoking would be permitted outside of a 25-foot perimeter around the public housing unit. HUD is also proposing that 18 months be given to public housing authorities to implement the rule so they have time to include the policy into new leasing agreements and work with tenants on addressing any issues related to the rule.

The proposed rule are open for comment for 60 days and we encourage anyone who is interested in this issue to write comments in support of the general provisions of the rule and recommending that HUD include all government subsidized housing and ban the use of e-cigarettes in the final rule.

"Free-Care" Rule Clarification Would Improve Health Services for Low-Income Children

Schools serve as a critical place for millions of low-income children in the United States to receive health services. Aside from convenience and efficiency factors, many students would not have access to healthcare if not for school-based health services. Among the services schools often provide are vaccinations, vision and hearing screenings, asthma management, nutrition guidance and counseling. These services are vital for keeping kids healthy and avoiding future medical costs that result from delays in getting needed care.

For low-income students enrolled in Medicaid, schools often serve as a primary access point for essential care. While schools providing care should be eligible for reimbursement from Medicaid (for services provided to Medicaid-eligible students), a technical assistance guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 1997 has blocked schools from being able to bill Medicaid, cutting off a major source of funding and restricting care available to eligible children.  At issue, the 1997 CMS guidance included the so-called “free care rule,” barring schools from getting reimbursed for Medicaid services unless the school also billed other private insurance providers for services provided to non-Medicaid students. The free-care rule means that schools would have to track down each student’s individual insurance provider and send individual bills to each of them in order to obtain Medicaid reimbursements for Medicaid-enrolled students.

Schools simply do not have the resources to implement the complicated billing arrangement system envisioned by the guidance and this hurdle has become a deterrent for schools to provide these services. Importantly, through legal challenges to the free-care rule, it has been determined that schools are not required by law to meet such a burdensome requirement in order to bill Medicaid.  When the free-care rule was challenged in 2005, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Appeals Board ruled that CMS did not have the legal authority to deny services through the 1997 technical assistance guidance.  The Appeals Board articulated that there are no express conditions on the availability of Medicaid funds in the law. However, despite the favorable ruling (and subsequent similar rulings in other jurisdictions), the “free care” rule continues to be applied and schools are still unable to receive Medicaid payments for services provided to millions of low-income children.

The Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition (CALC) has been working on this issue and recently sent a letter to CMS stressing the importance of clarifying the “free care” rule in the hopes that more schools will be able to receive Medicaid reimbursements allowing more health services to be available for our most vulnerable students. CALC also conducted awebinar discussing the reimbursement opportunities and obstacles in the school setting. We will continue to urge the Administration to take action as soon as possible to clarify the regulations so that children throughout the United States will be able to gain access to important health services in their schools.