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National Health Organizations Call on Congress to Support Life-Changing Oxygen Reform

June 07, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC - (June 4, 2024) - Yesterday, 30 leading patient, provider and professional organizations sent a letter to members of Congress calling for support and cosponsors for the Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform or SOAR Act (S. 3821/H.R. 7829), legislation that aims to ensure that people enrolled in Medicare who need supplemental oxygen can access the correct type and levels of oxygen needed for them to live full and active lives.

The organizations, American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Lung Association, American Thoracic Society, COPD Foundation, Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC) and Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation released this statement:

"The Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform or SOAR Act is critical to the lives of more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. facing serious health risks because they do not currently have access to the appropriate supplemental oxygen equipment and services."

"People with advanced or serious lung or heart diseases may require supplemental oxygen to ensure their bodies receive enough oxygen to keep their blood saturated and to allow their organs to function properly. Unfortunately, many people – especially those enrolled in Medicare – face challenges in getting the right type and oxygen levels."

"The SOAR Act would remove all oxygen services and equipment from the competitive bidding reimbursement system and create a new reimbursement system to ensure everyone who needs supplemental oxygen can get the proper kind and amount for living a full life. The SOAR Act would also ensure access to liquid oxygen for patients for whom it is medically necessary; ensure people who need respiratory therapy services can access them; establish an oxygen users' bill of rights; and establish national standardized documentation requirements that rely on a template rather than prescriber medical records to make payments more streamlined and less subject to potential fraud or abuse."

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COPD Foundation Honors Impact of Gerard Turino, M.D.

May 17, 2024

Integral leader in pulmonary medicine and research celebrated 100th birthday on May 16, 2024

MIAMI (May 16, 2024) - The COPD Foundation is proud to honor Gerard Turino, M.D., an innovative leader in pulmonary medicine and research, as he celebrates his 100th birthday today, May 16, 2024.

Dr. Turino's career has spanned 72 years and counting, as he still has an appointment as an attending physician at Mount Sinai West Hospital and Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital in New York. He also has an appointment as the John H. Keating Senior Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York.

His list of achievements includes the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the COPD Conference, an awardee of the Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal for Research, Teaching and Clinical Care and the 2013 Breathing for Life Award, both from the American Thoracic Society, and the Distinguished Service Award in the Clinical Sciences from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Turino is the founder and director of the James P. Mara Center for Lung Disease at Mount Sinai West (formerly St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital), which is dedicated to research in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, asthma and intensive care. Research supported by the James P. Mara Center has led to the development of a biomarker for COPD and a potential therapy, currently awaiting further clinical trial.

Dr. Turino also cofounded the COPD Foundation and was the first chair of the organizations Board of Directors. He helped found the American Thoracic Society Foundations Board of Directors and was an early member of the Board of Directors of the Alpha-1 Foundation.

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Plant-based Diet Decreases Risk of Developing Emphysema

April 25, 2024

New study shows nutritionally rich diet reduced incidence of chronic lung disease

MIAMI (April 25, 2024) - People with a history of smoking who follow a nutritionally rich, plant-centered diet have a reduced risk of developing radiographic emphysema later in life, regardless of smoking history, according to a new study. The study is published in the March 2024 issue of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation, a peer-reviewed, open access journal.

Emphysema is caused by irreversible damage to the air sacs in the lungs, which then limits the amount of oxygen transferred from the air to the blood and creates a feeling of shortness of breath. There are currently limited prevention strategies for those at high risk of developing emphysema.

This new study examined whether a nutritionally rich, plant-centered diet in young adult smokers impacted the risk of developing emphysema later in life. A nutritionally rich, plant-centered diet is characterized as a diet with higher amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and lower amounts of refined grains and red and processed meats.

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COPD Foundation Nebulizer Consortium Releases Guidance on Mitigating Infection Risk During Nebulization

April 15, 2024

Document Focuses on Health Care Settings and Home Environments

MIAMI (April 15, 2024) – A guidance statement from the COPD Foundation Nebulizer Consortium (CNC) on the safe use of nebulized therapies in health care settings and home environments has been published in the March 2024 issue of CHEST, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Nebulizers are commonly used to deliver inhaled medications to people with respiratory illnesses, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These devices are especially important to individuals who may not receive the full benefit of medication delivered by handheld inhalers.

There is currently a lack of evidence on the safe use of nebulizer therapies and the increased risk of transmitting disease, particularly in the current COVID-19 environment. The CNC’s goal is to understand infection risks that may be associated with nebulizer therapy use, so that guidelines are developed to ensure the safety of people receiving nebulizer therapy, as well as those around them.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly important to establish guidelines for the safe use of nebulizer therapies, which are vital to people with COPD and other respiratory illnesses,” said Isaac N. Biney, MD, pulmonologist at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and the lead author of the guideline. “These recommendations address the safe use of these therapies while helping to minimize the risk of exposure to respiratory pathogens for patients, caregivers, and health care providers.”

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COPD Foundation announces new Bronchiectasis and NTM Care Center Network with support of Founding Sponsor Insmed

February 26, 2024

MIAMI, (February 26, 2024) - Bronchiectasis and NTM 360, a division of the COPD Foundation, has announced the launch of the Bronchiectasis and NTM Care Center Network (CCN), a groundbreaking initiative that will facilitate access to specialized care and support for hundreds of thousands of individuals with bronchiectasis and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease.

This innovative network will be implemented at 150 medical centers in diverse geographical locations nationwide over the next three years with support from Founding Sponsor Insmed Incorporated, a global biopharmaceutical company on a mission to transform the lives of patients with serious and rare diseases. The aim for the centers is to provide accurate, prompt diagnosis and outstanding standardized medical care, resources, and education.

"Our goals to improve care and quality of life, advance research towards a cure, and build widespread awareness can only be attained through bold vision and support from companies like Insmed," said Jean Wright, M.D., MBA, CEO of the COPD Foundation. "As the prevalence of these diseases and the economic burden grow, early detection and education efforts are more critical than ever. This collaboration, which also includes NTM Info & Research and a steering committee of world-renowned experts and patient representation, will transform the landscape of care for individuals with bronchiectasis and NTM lung disease, providing them with the care and resources they need to thrive."

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Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the COPD Foundation Releases Statement in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine

January 10, 2024

COPD is a major public health problem that remains largely neglected

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (January 10, 2024) - The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal, has published a statement by the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the COPD Foundation, shedding light on the state of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and advocating for action to address the burden of this often-overlooked public health crisis.

The statement emphasizes the oversight of COPD on an unprecedented scale, with patients, health care providers, payers, and funders largely neglecting the issue. According to the report, COPD is the third leading cause of death, with over 3 million deaths worldwide in 2019. In the United States alone, approximately 27 million adults are estimated to have airflow obstruction, with 19.5 million remaining undiagnosed.

"COPD has long been in the shadows," said Surya P Bhatt, M.D., professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham and one of the authors of the statement. "Our hope is that this statement serves as a catalyst for change, urging health care communities, policy makers, and the public to address the challenges of COPD. Through increased research, awareness, and strategic policy initiatives, we can significantly improve the lives of those affected by COPD and reduce the burden of the disease."

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Dr. Pamela J. McShane Elected as Chair of the Bronchiectasis and NTM Research Registry Consortium

December 12, 2023

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Dec. 12, 2023) - The COPD Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on improving the lives of those affected by COPD, bronchiectasis, and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease, recently announced that Dr. Pamela J. McShane was elected as chair of the Bronchiectasis and NTM Research Registry Consortium.

"I am honored to have been elected as Chair of the U.S. Bronchiectasis and NTM Research Registry Consortium," said Dr. Pamela J. McShane. "I am incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead. Together with our dedicated team, I look forward to furthering the mission of the Registry, working to improve healthcare outcomes in bronchiectasis, and making a lasting impact on our patients' lives."

Dr. Pamela J. McShane is a Professor of Medicine at UT Tyler School of Medicine and an accomplished physician, specializing in pulmonology, critical care medicine, and infectious lung diseases. She holds dual board certifications in pulmonary disease and critical care medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a distinguished member of medical societies such as the American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, and the European Respiratory Society.

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Effective Medication Management is Key to Positive COPD Patient Outcomes

December 08, 2023

The COPD Foundation recommends organizing medication, making lists, and seeking health care guidance after flare-ups.

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Dec. 8, 2023) - Individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience symptom flare-ups known as exacerbations, which cause breathing difficulties and potential hospitalization. Medication adjustments during these episodes can complicate treatment. To manage changing medication routines effectively, COPD patients are advised by experts to employ organizational strategies, such as maintaining medication lists, using calendars, and collaborating with a trusted primary care provider for a treatment plan.

Kristen Szymonik, BS, RRT, AE-C, the COPD Foundation's Assistant Director of Education, outlines the importance of structured approaches when managing medication routine changes following a COPD flare-up.

  • Create a detailed medication list. Patients should compile a comprehensive list of medications, including dosages and specific instructions like amount and frequency.
  • Use automated tools to manage treatment reminders. Online calendars and applications with electronic reminders can help patients structure and track medication schedules. The COPD Foundation provides a free mobile application that allows patients to log daily symptoms and set goals, sends medication reminders, hosts exercise and other self-care tutorial videos, and guides patients through visits with their health care provider.
  • Seek guidance from health care providers regarding the correct use of new medications. The order in which medications are taken can be crucial to their effectiveness. Managing COPD well involves understanding the complexities of inhaler usage, adherence to schedules, and correct medication intake. Szymonik encourages patients to contact their treatment team for assistance with any medication changes or additions.

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Productive Conversations Between Primary Care Providers and Patients Pave the Way for Long-Term Lung Health

November 30, 2023

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Nov. 30, 2023) - When it comes to diagnosing, managing, and treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), primary care is crucial. The COPD Foundation recommends early detection, open communication with a primary care provider, and adherence to treatment plans to fight this progressive lung disease.

COPD is a health crisis that affects more than an estimated 250 million people and is the third leading cause of death worldwide. It encompasses conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Risk factors for the disease include smoking tobacco, genetics, air pollution, occupational exposures, and early life factors like frequent lung infections. Despite its prevalence, few know the signs and symptoms of COPD early in their lung health journey. The COPD Foundation outlines the following steps to empower COPD patients and initiate long-term lung health.

  • Recognize the symptoms.
    • Early warning signs of COPD such as shortness of breath and chronic cough are often mistaken for symptoms of flu or allergies. However, if symptoms persist over time, it is best to start a conversation with a primary care provider. The COPD Foundation also provides a free COPD risk screener.
  • Discuss it with a primary care provider.
    • If there is a suspicion of COPD symptoms, the COPD Foundation recommends discussing concerns with a primary care provider early and often. The conversation should include medical history, lifestyle, and other environmental risk factors. An open conversation can lead to early diagnosis and more effective treatment.
  • Follow a treatment plan.
    • Primary care providers can build a tailored treatment plan for patients that may include medication, pulmonary rehab, lifestyle changes, or oxygen therapy. A recommended treatment plan helps patients manage the disease and live well despite the disease burden. Following a treatment plan also helps primary care providers monitor their patients for any change in disease status.

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International Lung Health Conference to Illuminate Advances in COPD Care and Feature a Patient Education Session

November 10, 2023

The eighth annual GOLD International COPD Conference kicks off Monday, Nov. 13

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Nov. 10, 2023) – The COPD Foundation is proud to partner with the Global Initiative for Lung Health (GOLD) and Temple Lung Center (TLC) to present a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patient session at the eighth annual GOLD International Lung Health Conference on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023 in Philadelphia. The free session is the first for the GOLD Lung Health Conference and will provide medication management tips, exacerbation prevention information, pulmonary rehab resources, and oxygen therapy tips to patients and caregivers. It will be offered in-person and virtually.

The patient session is part of a two-day international educational symposium from November 13-14 that will provide the latest in COPD care and management.

COPD affects more than 30 million Americans and is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue, and chronic cough. The chronic lung disease comprises several conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and can be caused by smoking, genetics, early life factors like frequent lung infections, and environmental irritants like smoke or pollution.

This year’s conference will cover the newest developments and breakthroughs in COPD treatment, symptom management, and research while providing health care providers and patients an opportunity to learn from and network with global COPD experts.

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New research supports early screening and intervention for even mild lung disease symptoms to help prevent physical inactivity

November 03, 2023

The COPD Foundation encourages exercise for those with chronic lung disease as part of COPD Awareness Month in November

MIAMI & NEW YORK (Nov. 3, 2023) - New research from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation reports that individuals with COPD who experience high levels of symptoms are less likely to be physically active. Exercise is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the long-term impact of this widespread chronic lung disease. The study underlines the importance of COPD screening and early diagnosis for symptom intervention and disease management.

COPD affects more than 30 million Americans and is the third leading cause of death worldwide, yet awareness of the disease's symptoms, methods to reduce risk, and disease management remains poor. COPD symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue, and chronic cough. According to research, regular physical activity can help COPD patients breathe better, feel better, and live longer, more fulfilling lives. COPD patients who are inactive increase their risk of exacerbations, hospital admissions, reduced lung function, and poor quality of life.

A recent study published in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation expanded upon prior research related to exercise and COPD by investigating how a diverse group of Canadians' symptom burdens influenced their physical activity levels. The study found that individuals engaged in less physical activity when they reported a high symptom burden compared to those with milder symptoms. This was true for individuals diagnosed with just “mild” COPD and those previously undiagnosed but experiencing symptoms.

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The COPD Foundation Launches COPD Awareness Month in November

November 01, 2023

Patients, Clinicians, and Supporters Join Forces to Champion Lung Health Research, Education, and Advocacy

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Oct. 31, 2023) - November is COPD Awareness Month. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which affects more than 30 million Americans, is a serious chronic lung disease characterized by shortness of breath. During the month of November, the COPD Foundation invites people to participate in a variety of awareness events to bring attention to the patient community and support critical research, education, and advocacy efforts.

COPD comprises several conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and can be caused by genetics, irritants like smoke or pollution, or early life events like lung infections.

Although the disease is the third leading cause of death worldwide, there is little awareness of the disease's symptoms, risk factors, and disease management techniques. Increased public awareness of COPD and its symptoms during the month of November helps drive funding for critical research and treatments, encourages early diagnosis, and raises awareness of educational and support resources.

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