In the News

ASME Certification: Another Program Comes on Board

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September 9, 2013

The AARC’s Asthma Self-Management Education (ASME) certification program is designed to provide respiratory therapists with the certification they need to go after third party reimbursement for their asthma management programs using CPT codes introduced a few years ago.

The latest program to take advantage of ASME is run by Kevin Buckels, CRT, AE-C, along with Dr. Bernard Brach, in Gonzales, LA.

Kevin Buckels
Kevin Buckels, CRT, AE-C

Seeking the best

The Asthma Intervention and Respiratory Education Program—“AIRE” for short—is located on the campus of St. Elizabeth Hospital and serves residents age five through adult in Ascension Parish. With a population 107,215 and an asthma prevalence rate of around 10%, the program was sorely needed. “The program was in developmental stages for approximately 18 months until we started seeing patients in October 2012,” says Buckels.

The AARC member says he knew from the outset that he wanted to acquire ASME certification for the program, and everything that went into the development was done with that end in mind. “We wanted our program to be among the best asthma education programs in the country,” he says. “The stringent and thorough standards required by ASME assured us that, upon approval, we would be a step closer to that goal.”

He also believes certification will make it easier to negotiate with payers and apply for grants to help fund the initiative.

Promising outcomes

Buckels says patients enrolled in his program undergo diagnostic testing and then receive in-depth asthma education. Everyone leaves the 1.5–2 hour session with an Asthma Action Plan and age appropriate educational materials designed to reinforce the educational session. Patients are given contact information for an asthma educator as well and encouraged to get in touch should they have any problems before their follow up visit, which is scheduled for 2–4 weeks later depending on individual patient needs.

After the patient leaves, the session is thoroughly reviewed by the asthma educator and medical director to ensure all the bases were covered, and the primary care physician receives a report.

Buckels says the program has seen about 35 patients so far, but he expects that number to grow exponentially now that school is back in session. Through a new partnership with local school nurses, AIRE is now seeing students who have been diagnosed with asthma. “The goal is to decrease the incidence of acute asthma attacks as well as the number of missed school days due to asthma related symptoms,” he says.

Outcomes from the first eight months of the program have been promising, showing a greater than 80% improvement in asthma-related emergency room visits, unscheduled visits to the patient’s primary care physician due to asthma symptoms, and SABA overuse. Patient satisfaction scores have been in the 99th percentile as well.