The Academy of Allergy & Asthma in Primary Care (AAAPC)™, officially launched today as a voice for primary care physicians who provide testing and treatment access to the millions of patients who suffer from seasonal and perennial allergies. The AAAPC mission is to foster the ability of physicians to provide high quality, patient accessible diagnostic and therapeutic allergy and asthma care. AAAPC will be a voice for physicians and patients using allergy and asthma diagnostic and therapeutic services to raise awareness of the link between allergy care and asthma prevention, particularly in pediatric and family practice populations.
Currently, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and it is the fifth leading chronic disease in the United States among all ages. With recurrent allergen exposure, pediatric and adult individuals with allergic rhinitis (AR) can develop allergic asthma. Twenty-six million Americans have asthma and approximately 60 percent have allergic asthma. In such cases, asthmatic complications are triggered by allergen exposure.
An estimated 6.5 million Americans under the age of 18 suffer from asthma, making it the most common chronic illness in childhood. It is the primary reason children miss school and the leading cause of childhood hospitalization. Furthermore, allergen immunotherapy has been shown to significantly decrease the development of allergic asthma and new allergies in pediatric and adult patients with allergic rhinitis. Thus, allergy testing and immunotherapy can play a major role in reducing the effects of asthma in children and the healthcare system.
“Primary Care Physicians have always treated their patients for seasonal and perennial allergies, but few have had access to actually test their patients,” says Peggy Binzer, AAAPC executive director. “We will raise awareness for primary care physicians and support their vital role in allergy and asthma diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.”
To advance clinical research, AAAPC serves as a resource for current allergy testing, immunotherapy and asthma research. Among a variety of educational and professional services, AAAPC also provides physicians with relevant Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits to promote a culture of quality improvement in clinical practice. Additional focus of the AAAPC includes:
Promotes a culture of quality improvement and develops protocols and guidelines for clinical practice.
Serves as a resource for current allergy testing, immunotherapy and asthma research.
Supports a certification program for products and services related to allergy and asthma care.
Facilitates constructive and meaningful dialogue with payers to maintain an appropriate focus on allergy diagnostic and allergy therapeutic services.
Until now, the only real relief for allergies has remained primarily in the hands of allergists who administer immunotherapy. This already small community of less than 2,800 U.S. specialists is expected to decline by 6.8 percent by 2020, while demand for allergy-related services is projected to increase by 35 percent by the same year. This forecast only scratches the surface of the true demand for allergy care, as only a portion of the approximately 60 million Americans suffering from allergies are aware of their condition and seek specialty care. While nearly four in five people know allergies are serious, only one in five are seen by a specialist.
While seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis create unnecessary medical costs, harm quality of life, work force and school productivity, not nearly enough specialists exist to treat the number of patients in need. In addition, allergists primarily work in large metropolitan areas, leaving suburban and rural patients without access to care. In fact, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), only 50 percent of patients receiving immunotherapy are currently being treated by an allergist, due to the lack of supply. The balance is being treated by ENT and primary care physicians.
“The AAAPC wants to create more access for patients by helping primary and family care physicians test and treat their patients’ allergies safely and effectively,” says Frederick M. Schaffer, M.D., Chair of the AAAPC Medical Advisory Board and a board-certified allergist. “PCPs are the medical home for patients, and allergy sufferers want to receive the most efficient and highest standard of care from their family doctor. Patients who suffer from seasonal and perennial allergies want to be treated close to home by the family doctor they have come to know and trust.”
The AAAPC supports advancing research for safe and effective allergy care:
Advocate for the link between allergy care and asthma prevention for underserved populations focusing on prevention and reducing overall health care costs.
Support research on allergy and asthma treatments.
Support a culture of quality improvement.
For more information on AAAPC and membership benefits, visit www.AAAPC.us or call 331.AAAPC.03 (331-222-7203).
Source: Academy of Allergy & Asthma in Primary Care | February 27, 2013