Allergy focus of new PCP organization

March 14, 2013

As an increasing number of primary care physicians treat allergies and asthma to meet patients' demand for services, a new organization has officially launched to serve them.

As an increasing number of primary care physicians (PCPs) treat allergies and asthma to meet patients' demand for services, a new organization has officially launched to serve them.

“The Academy of Allergy and Asthma in Primary Care (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, MD, chairman 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.”

According to the AAAPC:

  • Allergies are the fifth leading chronic disease in the United States, affecting more than 50 million Americans of all ages.

  • Twenty-six million Americans have asthma, and approximately 60% of them have allergic asthma.

  • About 6.5 million Americans aged less than 18 years have asthma, making it the most common chronic illness in childhood.

Because allergen immunotherapy has been shown to significantly decrease the development of allergic asthma and new allergies in children and adults with allergic rhinitis, allergy testing and immunotherapy can play a major role in reducing the effects of asthma in children and the healthcare system, according to the organization.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data indicate that only 50% of patients receiving immunotherapy are being treated by an allergist, due to the lack of supply; the remaining patients are being treated by otolaryngologists and PCPs, according to the AAAPC. Allergists current number fewer than 2,800 in the United States, the organization says, and that number is expected to decline by 6.8% by 2020. During the same time period, however, demand for allergy-related services is projected to increase by 35%. 

The AAAPC will focus on:

promoting a culture of quality improvement;

developing protocols and guidelines for clinical practice;

offering continuing medical education;

serving as a resource for current allergy testing, immunotherapy, and asthma research;

supporting a certification program for products and services related to allergy and asthma care; and

facilitating dialogue with payers to maintain an appropriate focus on allergy diagnostic and allergy therapeutic services.

 

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