Making a Difference in People’s Lives
February 24, 2014
Joe Hutts, CEO – BreatheAmerica
Our country’s health system is changing rapidly. New technologies, medical devices and pharmaceuticals have consistently brought change to the health industry.
But now the launching of the Affordable Care Act has brought a whole new level of change. We find ourselves asking questions we never imagined we would ask. Can I keep my medical insurance? What will happen to the cost of my insurance? How much will my deductible increase? Can I go to the doctors I have come to trust and can I continue to use the same hospital? It is just hard to understand what is happening.
We also know that having good health care insurance is critical since we all are at risk of facing significant health care costs over time. To maintain affordable premiums for people, though, we must do more than tackle expanded coverage. We must tackle unnecessary spending.
Most of us understand that a handful of chronic diseases drive the majority of health care spending. BreatheAmerica was formed to get our arms around one family of chronic disease- the airway diseases of asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis and COPD and their underlying allergic and non-allergic causes. I recently saw an article written about Ford Motor Co. In this article, they said 5 chronic diseases comprise 60% of their total health care costs. Two of the 5 chronic diseases were airway diseases – asthma and COPD. Furthermore, airway diseases are increasing all over the world and now impact in excess of 25% of the population in one way or another.
We know these diseases are clinically linked and they trigger each other. Therefore, when looking at a patient’s condition, we cannot limit our view to the diagnostic and treatment tools or even the diseases specific to a particular medical specialty or doctor’s office. Rather, we must expand our view to include everything needed to diagnose and treat the primary disease; its triggers and comorbidities and manage them for the long term, yet in an environment that utilizes these resources efficiently. We must deal with the whole family of disease.
We believe that by doing this we can help people gain control over their disease and avoid costly emergency room visits and inpatient hospitalizations that drive up our health care premiums. Not only will this have a huge impact on health care costs, but we are helping a whole lot of people live a much better quality of life. This, very simply, is what BreatheAmerica is all about.
We do this by bringing together all the resources that are necessary to diagnose, treat and manage airway disease. We utilize a team approach to care, led by an allergist physician and with a heavy reliance on mid-level providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) who are armed with evidence based protocols and spend a lot of time with patients. We bring together physicians trained in allergy, pulmonary medicine, and ENT/Rhinology in an integrated approach to medicine. We focus heavily on patient education because we want to help every patient be able to take personal responsibility for their disease to the extent possible. Lastly, we want to provide a long term home base for people with airway disease. Working together we can make a difference in a whole lot of lives.