Young girl in garden holding guinea pig

Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States

Food allergies (FA) are an important public health problem that affects adults and children and may be increasing in prevalence. Due to many concerns about FAs, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, working with more than 30 professional organizations, federal agencies, and patient advocacy groups, developed “Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States” which are “best practice” clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of FA for allergists/immunologists, clinical researchers, and practitioners in the areas of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, dermatology, gastroenterology, emergency medicine, pulmonary and critical care medicine, and others. NIAID Food Allergy Guidelines

Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways affecting more than 22 million people in the United States. An expert panel, commissioned by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, developed recommendations for the diagnosis and management of asthma that will help clinicians and patients make appropriate decisions about asthma care. NHLBI Asthma Guidelines

Asthma Care Coverage

Under a cooperative agreement with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health, the Lung Association is tracking coverage as well as any related barriers to asthma guidelines-based care in state Medicaid programs for the 23 CDC-funded National Asthma Control Program states. The overall goal of the project is to improve access to guidelines-based care and ultimately improve asthma outcomes by understanding the gaps between what is known to be best practice in improving asthma outcomes and what is actually being covered by payers, including Medicaid, and implemented by providers.

Coverage Parity For Allergy Blood Tests And Skin Tests Needed to Reduce Health Disparities

Find out why Medicaid and Medicare should provide coverage parity for blood and skin tests here

Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s 21st Century Council’s 2015 Annual Report

“While Medicare, along with Medicaid, has positive aspects that should be protected, improvement can also occur; especially when it comes to allergy testing. According to the National Institutes of Health, allergic diseases are the fifth-most prevalent group of chronic diseases among all ages, and the third-most common among children. Worse, food allergies in children are increasing, affecting nearly 6 million of our country’s children. Yet skin testing for allergies is performed almost exclusively by allergy specialists, who with rare exceptions areunavailable in primary care settings. ACAAI findings indicate that fewer than 4000 allergy specialist full-time equivalents exist in the U.S.

With so few specialists, it’s logistically impossible for the entire population of patients suffering from asthma and other allergic diseases to be referred to allergy specialists for skin testing. On top of that, many Medicaid and Medicare policies don’t even provide equivalent access or coverage for allergy blood tests and skin tests. Often, blood tests are only covered when skin testing would cause harm to the patient for a number of reasons.

These policies are rooted in outdated scientific literature that precede modern allergy blood testing technologies. Instead, Medicare and Medicaid policies should be revised to provide coverage parity for allergy
testing, so health disparities can be reduced. Primary care providers would have the ability to deliver the standard of care indicated by the National Institute of Health guidelines for managing patients with asthma and other allergic diseases.” (Excerpted from the 2015 CBCI Annual Report, which is available here)