Photo of Charmayne Anderson

Charmayne Anderson – Director of Advocacy

During the second quarter of 2020, Allergy & Asthma Network advocated for federal resources and support for critical healthcare needs in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our advocacy efforts focused on key issues, including:

  • Medical equipment for health professionals;
  • Access to medications and treatments for people with chronic, underlying health conditions (e.g., asthma, COPD and other chronic respiratory diseases.) People with chronic conditions are at greater risk for complications if they are diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Food allergy protections;
  • Advancement of telehealth parity; and
  • Remote patient monitoring.

Additionally, we continue to advocate for widespread testing and reporting systems to understand the impact on minority communities and vulnerable populations to determine steps to reach equitable health outcomes.

The following are specific actions we took during March, April and May to advocate for important issues impacting people with asthma, allergies and related conditions.

 

MAY 2020

5/29 Step Therapy and Access to Medications

Allergy & Asthma Network joined with other patient advocacy organizations and sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to address the need for further measures to address the use of step therapy by Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan sponsors.

5/28 Food Allergen Labeling

Allergy & Asthma Network joined with other patient advocacy organizations and provided comments to the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) on a proposed rule “Temporary Policy Regarding Certain Food Labeling Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Minor Formulation Changes and Vending Machines Guidance for Industry.”

5/26 Telehealth for People with Asthma, Allergies and Respiratory Diseases

Allergy & Asthma Network provided comments to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) on a proposed rule “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” We urged CMS to consider the addition of allergy and pulmonary specialists to the existing list of telehealth services covered by Medicare in order to afford safe and timely access to healthcare for the more than five million Medicare patients with respiratory diseases, as well as easing the administrative burden of the providers who treat them.

5/20 AADCH Virtual Advocacy Day

Allergy & Asthma Network hosted our annual Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill (AADCH) event on May 20, 2020. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our AADCH activities consisted of a Virtual Advocacy Day with over 200 participants. Participants included patients, caregivers, advocates, healthcare professionals, industry leaders and researchers from across the country. They came together to learn about critical legislative and regulatory issues (including COVID-19) facing patients living with asthma, allergies and related conditions. They also lent their voice and raise awareness with members of Congress.

5/13 Asthma and Health Disparities

Allergy & Asthma Network sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to offer support for asthma patients in underserved communities in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

5/6 Food Allergy and Safety in Schools

Allergy & Asthma Network joined with other patient advocacy organizations and sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The letter emphasized the need to develop the best course of action with parents whose children are affected by life-threatening food allergies in response to CDC’s draft guidance for reopening of schools and how children eat at school.

 

APRIL 2020

4/23 Step Therapy and Access to Medications

Allergy & Asthma Network joined with other patient advocacy organizations and sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS.) The letter urged CMS to consider waiving step therapy and prior authorization requirements for high risk patients in Medicare Advantage and Part D plans during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

4/20 Step Therapy and Access to Medications

Allergy & Asthma Network joined with other patient advocacy organizations and sent a letter to Congress. The letter urged for guardrails on the use of step therapy protocols in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, Medicaid Managed Care and ERISA health plans in any additional legislation to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

4/10 Step Therapy and Access to Medications

Allergy & Asthma Network joined with other patient advocacy organizations and sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS.) The letter encouraged CMS to relax prior

authorizations and step therapy standards for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans regarding medically necessary prescribed or ordered treatments and services during national pandemics.

 

MARCH 2020

3/23 Access to Medical Equipment, Medications and Treatment

Allergy & Asthma Network sent a letter to Congress urging federal funds be provided to support critical healthcare needs related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes access to medical equipment to support our health professionals, access to medications and treatment for people with chronic, underlying health conditions, and advancing telehealth parity.

icon-angle icon-bars icon-times