Community Asthma Funding Cut in Federal Budget Proposal
Name three community asthma programs supported by the federal government. Now, imagine what patients would do without them.
Due to budget shortfalls, Congress plans to cut federal grants to programs that support healthy outcomes in patients with asthma. These changes could take effect before the end of the year.
The latest budget proposal would end the Environmental Protection Agency's Tools for Schools program which helps schools learn how best to reduce asthma triggers, support students asthma action plans and rights to carry medicine, and train staff on what to do in an asthma emergency.
It also would scrap the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Asthma and Healthy Homes grants. A new program formed in its place would receive 51 percent less funding (a $33 million decrease) and also would take responsibility for the nation's lead poisoning prevention programs. The CDC estimates that it will have to decrease the number of state health departments receiving funds to support asthma control activities from 36 to 15 and cut 225 public health jobs. (Read more here.)
Every asthma educator and respiratory therapist has seen patients whose asthma is not under control, and knows the financial and sometimes fatal toll the disease takes. Without these programs that teach asthma control, those numbers are sure to grow.
It's important that health care providers advocate for patients by reaching out to the offices of state representatives and congressmen. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends that you tell the staff member in charge of health issues how you're involved in asthma support and ask that Congress protect funding for these programs now. View their complete list of talking points here.
Funding for asthma education may still be cut. Concerned clinicians can prepare for the worst by comparing strategies to stretch community asthma program funding and gathering information about how other programs improve asthma outcomes. With a coordinated effort to pool knowledge, we can make sure that patients with asthma aren't just cut loose.