2012 Accreditation and Certification Products Update To the National Committee for Quality Assurance

April 20, 2011

The COPD Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization solely dedicated to representing individuals with COPD in the United States. COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases, encompassing emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and severe bronchiectasis. The COPD Foundation respectfully submits these comments in response to the above referenced proposed changes regarding the 2012 Accreditation and Certification Products Update. 

The NIH estimates that 12 million adults have diagnosed COPD and another 12 million are undiagnosed or are developing COPD. On December 9, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics released a report confirming that COPD and related respiratory conditions became the 3rd (third) leading cause of death in the US in 2008. Although the rise of COPD had been predicted, it was not expected that the increase from being the 4th (fourth) leading cause of death to the 3rd, would occur until at least 2020. 

The economic and quality of life related burdens caused by COPD are severe, with costs projected to exceed $49.9 billion for 2010. In spite of the severe impacts of COPD there are proven methods to reduce costs and improve health status resulting in decreased exacerbations, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and readmissions. Through pharmacotherapy management, non-pharmacotherapy strategies like pulmonary rehabilitation and oxygen therapy and a comprehensive disease management and education program, most patients with COPD can be treated. 

The COPD Foundation would like to commend NCQA’s efforts to develop strong quality measurements related to COPD and health plan’s disease management procedures and appreciates the inclusion of these measures in the 2012 accreditation standards. However, the Foundation would like to provide the following comments in an effort to ensure the entire picture of appropriate management of a COPD patient is captured when reporting on health plan performance. 

Click here to read the full letter.