Monday, February 6, 2017

ASTHMA EDUCATION & HEALTHY HOME ASSESSMENT PROGRAM

ASTHMA EDUCATION AND HEALTHY HOME ASSESSMENT PROGRAM IMPLEMENTED IN MISSOURI STATEWIDE

ST. LOUIS, MO (2/3/2017)— The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter (AAFA-STL) is proud to release that the MO HealthNet Division, Department of Social Services in Missouri, announced the implementation of a statewide asthma education and healthy home assessment program for high-risk children with uncontrolled asthma. It is estimated that 1 in 10 children has asthma in the United States, and in some Missouri areas, that number is high as 1 in 5 children.

“We are very excited for the implementation of this law statewide. It will improve the lives of thousands of children who deserve education about living with their chronic illness,” says Joy Krieger, Executive Director of AAFA-STL. “In addition, many of these children live in toxic homes which make them sick and this will reduce those barriers.” 

Originally signed into law in 2014, a $500,000 line item in the state’s budget, which would allow for a $2 million federal match, has been finally approved. This measure has been a key policy initiative of AAFA-STL’s Public Policy Committee. This is the second legislative win for AAFA-STL, who successfully aided in passing MO House Bill 1188 in 2012, which allows schools throughout Missouri to stock asthma rescue medication through our RESCUE Program. RESCUE is now implemented in 52% of schools statewide. http://aafastl.org/RESCUE


About Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter
With 36 years of service to the St. Louis community, AAFA-STL continues to help local underserved and uninsured children with their asthma and allergy medications, educates families, schools, and nurses about these conditions, and advocates for policies that will keep our community healthy. The organization is a proud member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis.


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

RESPONSE TO 400% EPIPEN® PRICE INCREASE

ASTHMA AND ALLERGY FOUNDATION OF AMERICA, ST. LOUIS CHAPTER
ISSUES RESPONSE TO 400% EPIPEN
® PRICE INCREASE

ST. LOUIS, MO – With the steady increase in food allergies nationwide, The Asthma and Allergy Foundation ofAmerica, St. Louis Chapter (AAFA-STL) is expressing deep concern over the 400% increase in the cost of a popular epinephrine auto-injector.  EpiPen® is the predominantly-prescribed epinephrine auto-injector on the market, which can thwart serious allergic reactions when injected into the thigh.  AAFA-STL reports that 1 in 5 of the client families served this year have indicated a medical need for the medicine.

“With the sharp price surge for this life-saving medication, we have a growing concern for our client families and the allergy community at large,” said Joy Krieger, Executive Director, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter.  “Food allergies are now the #1 health concern from school nurses in Missouri; while public schools have access to free EpiPens® through 2016, families undeniably need to be equipped with the medicine outside of the school setting.” 

A current petition to Congress addressing the EpiPen® price increase, which AAFA-STL supports, can be found at http://www.petition2congress.com/20720/stop-epipen-price-gouging/.

About Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter
With 3
5 years of service to the St. Louis community, AAFA-STL continues to help local underserved and uninsured children with their asthma and allergy medications, educates families, schools, and nurses about these conditions, and advocates for policies that will keep our community healthy. The organization is a proud member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and Variety the Children’s Charity.


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Thursday, June 23, 2016

AAFA-STL's Joy Krieger Speaks at "Every Student, Every Day" Conference; Addresses Asthma and Chronic Absenteeism

Asthma is the #1 health condition that accounts for missed school days.  In response to a recent article on absenteeism in schools in the region from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Not in class: Chronic absenteeism a problem throughout region's schools, June 22, 2016), it is imperative to understand that this chronic (yet manageable) disease is an underlying cause for thousands of hours of missed school.

In addition to being the #1 health-related reason for missed school, asthma rates are two times the national average in St. Louis, and asthma is the #1 reason kids visit the ER and go to the hospital. Community efforts to combat these trends are strong and numerous, with organizations like the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter (AAFA-STL) working diligently to address the problem head-on, through legislative action and direct services to the community.  In fact, the organization just presented alongside Department of Health and Senior Services at a Washington D.C. conference directed at interventions put into place to combat chronic absenteeism across the country.

Missouri was FIRST in the country to pass legislation (HB 1188 in 2012) which authorizes a school nurse/other trained employee to stock and administer life-saving asthma rescue medicine to any child experiencing an asthma emergency in the school setting, and is currently just one of four states to pass such a law. Because of this, AAFA-STL's RESCUE program has seen a sizable increase in the number of schools served in the area, by providing assistance with asthma rescue medicine, durable medical equipment, education and support.  In fact, over the past two years, 82.4% of kids who were treated with a piece of asthma equipment provided by AAFA-STL (in the school setting)  were able to return to the classroom. 

Although the treatment of asthma is multi-faceted, it is crucial to involve schools and educators in the conversation.  Thanks to programs and legislation that directly impact how schools can be involved in helping children manage this disease, it is hopeful that a decrease in absenteeism among students will prevail.   

Joy B. Krieger, RN, MA
Executive Director

Friday, June 3, 2016

ASTHMA AND ALLERGY FOUNDATION OF AMERICA, ST. LOUIS CHAPTER ANNOUNCES FIRST-EVER RISING LEADERS CLASS

ST. LOUIS, MO – The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter (AAFA-STL) announced its inaugural 2016 Rising Leaders class, consisting of a diverse group of young professionals in the region.  The seven individuals selected for the program will be working closely with AAFA-STL’s development team and board committees to offer a new perspective to AAFA-STL leadership.  Additionally, the inaugural class of Rising Leaders will have the opportunity to be mentored by AAFA-STL board members and will learn about non-profit operations and leadership. 
Rising Leaders is a select group of energetic and collaborative individuals who are passionate about healthcare, interested in making an impact in the St. Louis asthma and allergy community, and excited to learn about the non-profit space. The mission of the Rising Leaders program is “to become the next generation of leaders who impact the asthma and allergy community through service, collaboration and innovation.” 
The 2016 Rising Leaders Class:
Amit Bery, MD – Resident Physician, Barnes Jewish Hospital
Justin King – Clinical Research Program Manager, Washington University School of Medicine
Victoria Ly – Student and Medical Scribe, Washington University in St. Louis (Public Health)
Megan Salkeld – Quality Improvement Coordinator, Queen of Peace Center
Neem Serra – Software Developer, Asynchrony
Jamie Simpher – Copywriter, 2e Creative
Ruby Varghese – Student, St. Louis University (Public Health)
"We are very excited to see the ideas that will come out of this inaugural group of Rising Leaders, which will help our team at AAFA-STL find new ways to further fulfill our mission and better serve asthma and allergy clients in the Greater St. Louis area,” said Abby Cohen, Co-Founder of Sparo Labs and Rising Leaders Chairperson. 
More information can be found at aafastl.org/risingleaders.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Are you (or is someone you know)...

Energetic and collaborative-minded? Passionate about health care initiatives? Interested in making an impact in the St. Louis asthma and allergy community? Excited to contribute to a leading non-profit?!

Apply NOW for AAFA-STL's Rising Leaders Program!

As a Rising Leader, you will:

  • Access behind-the-scenes operations of a non-profit 
  • Receive mentorship from current AAFA-STL Board members 
  • Shape the Rising Leaders Program for future classes of leaders 
  • Bring a new perspective to AAFA-STL leadership and committees 
  • Help AAFA-STL fulfill its mission and execute its strategic plan 
Don't just take our word for it...
"As a St. Louis med-tech entrepreneur, I am proud to be involved in such an innovative, non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping St. Louis children breathe better. AAFA STL is constantly evaluating new ways to further fulfill their mission. The Rising Leader Program is a selective group of young professionals that will bring a new perspective to the organization and have the opportunity to be exposed to the board-level operations of a growing non-profit organization.”
-Abby Cohen, Co-Founder of Sparo Labs and Rising Leaders Chairperson

Applications will be accepted through 5pm on Monday, February 29!

Q's?: Email or call Amy Trapp
314-645-2422 x 6
Apply: aafastl.org/risingleaders

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Call to Action: Urge Gov. Nixon to Release Asthma Funding!

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon just announced that $46.1 million from Missouri's budget is being withheld, which includes $400,000 for asthma education and home assessments for high-risk asthma patients in the state (Missouri is the FIRST STATE to have passed legislation of this nature!)

We ask that you take a few minutes of your time to call or write Governor Jay Nixon and the MO HealthNet Director to voice your concern over this lost funding (other key contacts are also linked below).  Please see letter/talking points below and copy and paste into an email or letter, or voice your concern about this issue in a phone call (*remember to customize letter greeting for each separate contact!)
Collectively, we have and will continue to make our voices heard. Thank you for your advocacy and for helping a child breathe easier!

Governor Jay Nixon
P.O. Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102
573-751-3222

Email Form

Dr. Joe Parks
MO HealthNet, 615 Howerton Court Dr., PO Box 6500, Jefferson City, MO 65102-6500
573-751-3425

Joe.Parks@dss.mo.gov

Dear Governor Nixon OR Dr. Parks OR Name of Legislator:
I am requesting your urgent attention to release critical funding regarding the $46.1 million budget withholding announcement. Specifically, I am concerned about the withholding of $400,000 for asthma services (HB 11.528), which would have allowed for Medicaid reimbursement to practitioners across the state who perform asthma home assessments and education for Missouri's most vulnerable populations with asthma.

Without this funding, Missouri will lose out on an estimated savings of $1,500 per patient, annually, and other expected health outcomes including decreased emergency room visits, decreased school absences and fewer work days missed by parents.  Additionally, without the funding from the Missouri budget, the state will not be eligible for a $1.2 million federal match for these reimbursements.

As you are aware, Missouri is the only state to have passed legislation directly in response to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule change 42 CFR 440.130(c).  This allows practitioners to provide and be reimbursed for furnishing preventive services for asthma patients outside of the clinical setting.
 
In Missouri, asthma is the No. 1 reason why children are hospitalized, visit the ER and miss school days, and annually, asthma hospitalizations cost the state approximately $100 million (this figure does not include the impact and cost incurred by lost work and school days).  
 
This landmark appropriations bill had put Missouri on the national map for providing cutting-edge asthma care, and I urge you to reinstate this important funding, which will more than pay for itself within the first year of its implementation.

Thank you for time and consideration of this important health policy issue.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Call to Action -- Ensure optimized asthma care in Missouri!

Just last month, Governor Nixon signed a budget bill into law (HB 2011.528) that allows for qualified practitioners in the State to provide and be reimbursed for providing asthma education and home assessments to high-risk children with severe asthma.  We thank everyone who wrote to the Governor, legislators and other policymakers about improving asthma care in our great state.

Now we have another call to action:  Please take five minutes to call or write to Governor Jay Nixon and Dr. Joe Parks, Director of MO HealthNet, IMPLORING them to ensure that the proper, certified personnel (e.g., Certified Asthma Educators and home assessors) are providing the asthma education services and healthy home assessments to those who qualify in the State, and that these qualified practitioners are reimbursed accordingly for these life-saving services. Please copy and paste the email below into a letter or email, and feel free to add in your own story as it relates to the benefits of asthma education and home assessments.

Governor Nixon
Phone:  573-751-3222
Address: Office of Governor Jay Nixon, P.O. Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102

Dr. Joe Parks
Phone:  573-751-3425
Address:  Dr. Joe Parks, MO HealthNet, 615 Howerton Court Dr., PO Box 6500 Jefferson City, MO 65102-6500


Dear Governor Nixon/Dr. Parks, 

I am writing to show my support of the "Asthma Clause," asking that the funds appropriated through HB 2011.528 are allocated to appropriate, certified practitioners to provide asthma education and home assessments to high-risk asthma patients throughout the State of Missouri.  These educational services should be available in the clinic, school, community or home settings.  Regarding home assessments, it is imperative that trained personnel are assigned and reimbursed to identify mold, pests, defective heating/air conditioning equipment and other asthma triggers in the home.  These services are both essential pieces in the comprehensive asthma management protocol.

I urge you to implement this "Asthma Clause," to ensure the funding for asthma services (education and home assessments) goes through the proper channels.

ASTHMA FACTS: 
-Effective asthma education lowers the burden of asthma AND health care costs
-Reducing indoor asthma triggers decreases asthma symptoms and the amount of medication needed to treat asthma
-Asthma-trained school nurses can help students be better breathers of their medications, be healthier and feel better about having asthma.

Thank you for your time.