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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 13, 2018 01:11 PM
From: Representative Michael K. Hanna
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Declaring May 1, 2018, as “Bronchial Thermoplasty Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania
In the very near future, I intend to introduce a resolution recognizing May 1, 2018, as “Bronchial Thermoplasty Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania and urging all insurance providers throughout the state to cover Bronchial Thermoplasty treatment in its entirety.

Asthma is a common chronic disorder of the airways that is complex and characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, bronchial hyper-responsiveness, and an underlying inflammation. Approximately 24 million Americans, including 980,000 Pennsylvanians, suffer from asthma and nearly 3,400 die from asthma every year.

Bronchial Thermoplasty is delivered by the Alair System, the first therapeutic device approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2010 for adult patients with severe uncontrolled asthma. Bronchial Thermoplasty targets airway smooth muscles by delivering a controlled specific amount of thermal energy to the airway wall through a dedicated catheter.

A total of 79% of patients who are treated have reported a significant improvement in their asthma-related quality of life. Those treated experienced a 32% decrease in severe asthma attacks, an 84% reduction in asthma-related emergency room visits, and 66% fewer days lost from work, school and daily activities due to asthma.

I am introducing this resolution because one of my constituents suffers from severe asthma. Her current insurance provider, Capital Blue Cross, deems this procedure “experimental” and therefore will not cover the costs associated with Bronchial Thermoplasty treatment. In fact, their medical policy states “insufficient evidence to support a conclusion concerning the health outcomes or benefits associated with this procedure.” I feel the data and patient outcome stories prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bronchial Thermoplasty is medically necessary.

Independence Blue Cross, Geisinger Health Plan and Gateway Health Plan are the first insurance providers in Pennsylvania to cover Bronchial Thermoplasty as medically necessary. Nationwide there are 18 insurance providers that cover and reimburse this life changing technology. Therefore, I am urging Capital Blue Cross, Geisinger Health Plan, Gateway Health Plan and all insurance providers throughout the state to cover Bronchial Thermoplasty in its entirety.

Please join me in recognizing May 1, 2018, as “Bronchial Thermoplasty Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania. Thank you in advance for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact Samantha Lockhart at 717-772-2283 or by email at SLockhart@pahouse.net.

Introduced as HR858