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Alpha-1 Testing Available to Course Graduates

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July 11, 2012

Members who take the AARC Alpha-1 course, Emerging Roles for the Respiratory Therapist in Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, now have one more way to extend the value of that program to their patients.

Beginning today, AARC is teaming up with the presenters of that course, Drs. James Stoller, Sandy Sandhaus, and Charlie Strange, to allow respiratory therapists who have taken the online program to refer free genetic testing to at-risk patients. Past graduates of the course and future registrants will be given instructions to offer their patients access to the Alpha-1 Coded Testing (ACT) Study.

The ACT study began in 2001 and provides free and confidential at-home genetic testing for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. After a participating patient (following the respiratory therapist’s advice to be tested) completes the confidential questionnaire online, a blood sample kit is mailed to the participating patient’s home. The participating patient pricks his/her finger and fills in three circles on a mail-in card with drops of blood and then mails the card to the address on the card. The cards are processed and mailed to the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Genetics Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The genetic analysis takes approximately a month and then the participating patient is mailed a letter to the home reporting and discussing the results. Supporting patient literature and access to an Alpha-1 Genetic Counselor is mailed to each participant in the results packet so that the patient fully understands the results and their meaning.

“This is one more way that respiratory therapists can show their value and extend their reach to patients who potentially have Alpha-1,” said Tom Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, Executive Director and CEO of the AARC. “We are gratified that Drs. Stoller, Sandhaus, and Strange have offered this opportunity to us.”

If you have taken the course and the associated test in the past, please watch for an email to you from the AARC with instructions on how to access the ACT testing and a link that you give to your patients whom you think should be tested for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. As future registrants complete the course, they will also be given the ACT study link.

The course is only $25 for AARC members and carries 3 hours of CRCE credit.