Coalition for Equal Access to Allergy Testing Launches: Seeks to Improve Access to All Recommended Allergy Testing

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#allergies–Today, the Coalition
for Equal Access to Allergy Testing (CEAAT)
officially launched to
help improve access to allergy testing by eliminating inappropriate
insurance coverage barriers to guidelines-based care. CEAAT, an alliance
of patient, public health, provider, and other stakeholder groups and
individuals is focused on improving early intervention for patients with
allergies, ensuring patients have equal access to all medically
recommended allergy tests and thereby receive care according to National
Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines ­ more specifically, the NHLBI
Asthma Guidelines and NIAID Food Allergy Guidelines.

The Coalition’s mission is to work collaboratively with federal and
state agencies, policy makers, clinicians, public health organizations,
patients, and other stakeholders to reduce healthcare disparities by
advocating for and establishing policies designed to improve patient
access to allergy testing as indicated and recommended by national
guidelines. Unfortunately, many Medicaid and Medicare allergy testing
policies have placed excessive restrictions on allergy blood tests,
which are recognized as being equivalent with skin prick tests by the
NIH, as well as peer-reviewed medical and scientific literature.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allergies
are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States,
affecting more than 50 million Americans at an annual cost in excess of
$18 billion. Anyone may have or develop an allergy, and while there is
no known cure, allergies can be managed with prevention and treatment.

“Allergies impact a growing number of Americans from all walks of life,
but children and minorities are disproportionately impacted and may have
trouble accessing the care they need” said Dr Inderpal Randhawa, a
founding member of CEAAT. “Unfortunately, those impacted the most are
not always able to receive the best available care and CEAAT is well
positioned to help the most disadvantaged Americans receive the high
quality healthcare they deserve” added Dr. Randhawa. “We are committed
to closing the gap in health care access for people of color,” said
Terry Lawlah, Executive Director of The Maryland Center at Bowie State
University, “and we know this focused effort by CEAAT to remove barriers
to allergy testing can have a significant impact to reduce health care
disparities.”

Although children and minorities are hit the hardest, the Medicare
population is not immune from the impact of allergies. Nearly 5 million
Americans aged 65 or older have been diagnosed with asthma, which
represents more than 16% of all adults who suffer from asthma which is
often triggered by respiratory-based allergies. And nearly 4 million
elderly Americans suffer from hay fever, which equates to nearly 20% of
all U.S. adults who are afflicted by this allergy.

CEAAT members include: Colored My Mind, FAACT (Food Allergy and
Anaphylaxis Connection Team), Laboratory Corporation of America®
Holdings (LabCorp®), The Maryland Center at Bowie State University,
Michelle Meeks, M.D., (South Suburban Family Health), National
Association of School Nurses, National Black Child Development
Institute, Quest Diagnostics, Inderpal Randhawa, M.D., (Assoc. Clinical
Professor of Medicine, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine), Reid
Temple AME Church, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and The Translational
Pulmonary and Immunology Research Center. The coalition is committed to
improving access to medically appropriate allergy testing by eliminating
inappropriate insurance coverage barriers to guidelines-based care.
Doing so will reduce healthcare disparities, particularly among lower
income and minority populations and those in under-served rural and
urban areas.

Through education and advocacy at the local, state and federal levels,
CEAAT members are focused on ensuring that Medicaid and Medicare
policies reflect, and align with, current best practices and
guidelines-based care to enable patients to receive high quality health
care.

Contacts

CEAAT Contact:
Stewart Gordon
(202) 469-5196
info@ceaat.org