Toolkit: Asthma Awareness Month

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, an important opportunity for Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition member organizations and their partners to raise awareness of the important role public policy plays in helping children with asthma stay healthy.

We can help parents and policymakers around the country see that decisions in Washington and state capitals have an important impact on the health of local children. We encourage you to use this toolkit to observe Asthma Awareness Month and to customize it to fit the needs of your organization.

This toolkit offers ideas and examples you can use in your community. Feel free to use any or all of these resources:

Traditional Media

  • A sample op-ed describing the importance of Medicaid for children with asthma, with a call to action to Congress urging Members to reject Medicaid cuts, block grants, and per capita caps
  • A tipsheet on pitching newspaper opinion editors
  • A tipsheet for messaging and framing your argument

Social Media

The toolkit was developed by First Focus for Coalition members. If you have questions or need extra help, please feel free to contact the First Focus communications team. If you use the toolkit in your Asthma Awareness Month outreach efforts, please share examples of your work to make it even easier for other Coalition members to get involved.

Letter to Congress: Level-fund the CDC Asthma Program

CALC partners signed on to a letter urging Congress to level-fund the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program at $29million.

 At present, 24 states and Puerto Rico receive critical funding from the National Asthma Control Program. Our request for level funding for the National Asthma Control Program at $29.0 million would ensure these much needed resources would continue to assist states with combatting the terrible human and economic burden caused by asthma. 

Back-to-School Toolkit

Back-to-School Toolkit

With school back in session, there’s no better time to talk about childhood asthma. Millions of children will be heading back into the classroom and struggle with breathing, physical activity and concentration. The Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition (CALC) has created this back-to-school toolkit to help you raise awareness of childhood asthma in your community through a variety of engagement tactics. Included in this toolkit you will find:

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Pathways to Medicaid Reimbursement for Pediatric Asthma Services

Treating, managing and reducing the burden of childhood asthma requires coordinated interventions that integrate community‐based approaches into patient care and take the management of asthma beyond the doctor’s office.

Evidence‐based, community‐focused interventions, which help children and their families to proactively manage their condition and mitigate asthma triggers, are fundamental to successful asthma control and show a significant return on investment.

Medicaid offers several strategies for expanding effective community‐based asthma programs for low‐income and medically‐underserved populations. The attached fact sheet describes these various strategies available to states as they seek ways of supporting community asthma management.

Free Care Rule Regulatory Change: New Opportunities for Medicaid Reimbursement in Schools

Since 1997, the “free care” rule has stated that Medicaid will not pay for services that are offered to the general public free of charge. The rule has stood as a significant barrier for schools to receive Medicaid reimbursement for health services provided to students enrolled in Medicaid. On December 15, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a letter to State Medicaid Directors informing them of a decision to withdraw prior regulatory guidance on the free care rule. This Q&A explains how this important reversal of Medicaid policy will impact coverage of school-based interventions for low-income children with asthma.

Asthma Awareness Month 2016 Coalition Toolkit

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, an important opportunity for Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition member organizations and their partners to raise awareness of the important role public policy plays in helping children with asthma stay healthy.

This year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is set to release its smoke-free housing regulations, an important change in HUD policy that restricts smoking in public housing throughout the country. Smoke is one of the most common triggers of childhood asthma and children who suffer from asthma should never be around second or even third-hand smoke.

Part of this year's Asthma Awareness Month toolkit focuses on the new HUD regulations -- asking administrators and policymakers to do more to protect children from tobacco smoke, and encouraging parents and caretakers to keep their homes smoke-free for the benefit of their children.

We can help parents and policymakers around the country see that decisions in Washington and state capitals have an important impact on the health of local children. We encourage you to use this toolkit to observe Asthma Awareness Month and to customize it to fit the needs of your organization.

This toolkit offers ideas and examples you can use in your community. Feel free to use any or all of these resources:

  • Traditional Media
    • A sample op-ed that connects Medicaid’s future with the health of local children and urges congressional representatives to take a stand for children’s health
    • A tipsheet on pitching newspaper opinion editors
    • A tipsheet for messaging and framing your argument

 

The toolkit was developed by First Focus for Coalition members. If you have questions or need extra help, please feel free to contact the First Focus communications team. If you use the toolkit in your Asthma Awareness Month outreach efforts, please share examples of your work to make it even easier for other Coalition members to get involved.

HUD Smokefree Housing Comments 2015

On January 19, 2016, the CALC submitted these comments supporting HUD’s proposed rule to make all publicly owned housing smokefree. The comments encourage the final rule to go further and makes the following recommendations to HUD:

  • Make all government subsidized housing (mixed-financing units) smokefree
  • Extend the 25 foot perimeter around buildings where smoking would be prohibited  to the entire grounds owned by the Public Housing Authority
  • Include water pipe tobacco and e-cigarettes under the definition of tobacco products
  • Amend its Regulatory Impact assessment to reflect the decrease in lost productivity that will result from fewer asthma exacerbations in individuals who live in public housing

Download the comments.

Support for school asthma management plans in ESEA

This letter from leading asthma organization, many of whom are members of the Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition, requests Section 4105 (a)(4)(T) of the Senate substitute of S. 1177, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act be included in the final bill Congress approves. This provision would allow states and local educational agencies to use funds from Title IV (Safe and Healthy Students) for "the development and implementation of school asthma management plan[s].” 

Download the letter.

Tackling Health Disparities in Children: The Role of Medicaid and CHIP in Reducing Disparities and Improving Health Outcomes for Children of Color

 

The Congressional Allergy & Asthma Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a congressional lunch briefing Thursday, July 30th at Rayburn House Office Building on Tackling Health Disparities in Children for Medicaid's 50th anniversary.

Despite significant improvements in children’s health coverage over the last decade, children of color continue to experience notable health disparities. From infant mortality and dental care, to asthma treatment and mental health services, children of color have higher rates of disease, poorer overall health status, and more limited access to care.

While coverage is only one part of the disparities equation, Medicaid and CHIP are essential sources of health coverage for children of color whose families are more likely to be low-income. These programs insure more than half of Hispanic children (52%) and Black children (56%) compared to one-quarter of White (26%) and Asian (25%) children. The good news is that Medicaid and CHIP are making a difference in reducing racial and ethnic disparities by helping to connect children to the medical care they need.

The Congressional Allergy & Asthma Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for an educational staff briefing provided important information for policymakers on the current state of health disparities among children. Expert panelists shared the latest data on how children of color are faring as well as an overview of Medicaid and CHIP, with a focus on how these programs have been working to reduce health disparities. Panelists also highlighted best practices as well as areas where disparities continue to persist. The panelists each gave a short presentation and left time open for questions. (Download bios)

Download First Focus's child health disparities fact sheet here.

Moderator:

Dr. Floyd Malveaux, M.D., Ph.D; Executive Director, Merck Childhood Asthma Network

Panelists:

Dr. Joseph Wright, M.D., M.P.H.; Chair of Pediatrics, Howard University (Download presentation)

Genevieve Kenney, M.A., Ph.D; Codirector and Senior Fellow, Health Policy Center, Urban Institute (Download presentation)

Dr. Tyra Bryant- Stephens, M.D.; Medical Director of the Community Asthma Prevention Program, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) (Download presentation)

Medicaid and CHIP are Essential for Tackling Health Disparities in Children

Despite notable advancements in children’s health care over the last two decades, children of color continue to experience a range of health disparities when compared with white children. Over the last two decades, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have played a critical role in providing a broad range of services to children in low-income families, from basic screenings and medical and dental services, eyeglasses and hearing aids, to language interpretation, transportation, and chronic disease management services. Working together, these programs have cut the numbers of uninsured children in half, with the greatest improvement in coverage rates for children of color.

Congressman Engel Floor Statement on Asthma Awareness Month

Mr. Speaker: May is Asthma Awareness Month. As co-chair of the Congressional Asthma and Allergy Caucus and a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee, I want to take this opportunity to bring attention to asthma’s prevalence in the United States, as well as what must be done to control its growth.

Asthma is one of the most serious chronic diseases in the U.S., affecting almost 26 million Americans and nearly 7 million children. It can cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest pain, and even death.

In my home state of New York, asthma takes a particularly heavy toll – especially in my hometown of the Bronx. About 390,000 children and 1.4 million adults in New York have asthma. The total cost of asthma-related hospitalizations in New York in 2007 was a staggering $535 million. The Bronx, where I was born and raised and am proud to represent part of, has one of the highest rates of asthma-related emergency room visits in all of New York.

These statistics are even more alarming when looking specifically at minority and low-income populations. Children from poor households are twice as likely as their more affluent peers to be diagnosed with asthma. In addition, asthma rates among African American children increased by 50 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Asthma’s prevalence costs children and adults dearly with regard to quality of life. However, it carries an economic cost as well. The direct medical costs of asthma treatment, coupled with absences from work and school, result in losses of more than $56 billion annually. Children additionally suffer academically, as asthma causes about 14 million student absences each year.

While asthma can be treated and managed, it is too often not managed properly. Asthma sufferers require regular check-ups, asthma management plans, and access to both maintenance and fast acting inhalers. People with persistent asthma must be tested for allergies so they can learn what triggers might cause an asthma attack. Furthermore, environmental triggers in homes and schools, such as mold, dust, animal dander, pests, toxic chemicals, and excessive moisture must be eliminated.

Congress must also work to reduce asthma rates. A little over five years ago, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, which prohibited insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, like asthma. While this was a terrific stride, more efforts are needed here in Washington.

I have been a strong supporter of the Centers for Disease Control’s National Asthma Control Program, which helps states implement systems to monitor and treat asthma. This Program’s work has resulted in a $23.1 billion decline in asthma health care costs since 2001. In addition, deaths related to asthma have dropped by 24 percent since the Program’s inception in 1999. Earlier this year, I led a letter asking appropriators to fund the National Asthma Control Program at $30.6 million in Fiscal Year 2016.

While financial support for this Program is vital, we cannot rely on funding alone to solve the problems that asthma causes. We must continue to increase awareness of preventative measures to help people manage their disease. In addition, we must work collaboratively across sectors to address the burden that asthma creates.

I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that adults and children across the United States can live healthier and more successful lives. 

Improve the Lives of Asthma and Allergy Sufferers in Your District: Join the Congressional Asthma and Allergy Caucus

This letter from Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) formally invites their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to join the Congressional Asthma and Allergy Caucus for the 113th Congress. Reps. Engel and Harper serve as the caucus' co-chairs. 

Download the letter. 

Asthma Awareness Month 2015 Coalition Toolkit

May is Asthma Awareness Month, creating an important opportunity for Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition member organizations and their partners to raise the important role public policy plays in helping children with asthma stay healthy.

Much of the news and social media outreach about Asthma Awareness Month will likely focus on tips for parents or local experts’ perspectives on the problem’s scope. But we can help audiences to see that decisions in Washington and state capitals have an important impact on the health of local children. With Congress considering legislation to weaken Medicaid, raising the voices of the childhood asthma community is especially important.

This toolkit offers ideas and examples you can use in your community. Feel free to use any or all of these resources:

  • Traditional Media
    • A sample op-ed that connects Medicaid’s future with the health of local children and urges congressional representatives to take a stand for children’s health
    • A tipsheet on pitching newspaper opinion editors
  • Social Media
    • Sample Facebook and Twitter posts designed to gradually move your online networks, over the course of the month from awareness of Medicaid’s important role for children with asthma to engagement with policymakers
    • A social media tipsheet

The toolkit was developed by First Focus for Coalition members. If you have questions or need extra help, please feel free to contact the First Focus communications team. If you use the toolkit in your Asthma Awareness Month outreach efforts, please share examples of your work to make it even easier for other Coalition members to get involved.

CALC 2014 Year in Review

This document highlights the major accomplishments of the Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalitions three workgroups (Medicaid, federal funding, and asthma research), reviews efforts to engage with Federal leaders on asthma and our outreach to leaders on Capitol Hill, and describes actions in 2014 to strategically grow the Coalition and increase its media presence. 

Download CALC 2014 Year in Review.

Children’s Coverage Letter to MACPAC

CALC’s letter to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) serves as our comments in response to the MACPAC request for input about access to and affordability of children’s coverage. The letter addresses our views and concerns about the future of CHIP and the adequacy of Marketplace coverage, with a particular focus on children and asthma.

Click here to view the letter.