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Asthma Self Management Education (ASME) logoAARC Launches New Certification Program for Asthma Education

February 16, 2009

When the American Medical Association issued new CPT codes for asthma self management education, they wanted to ensure that providers who used the codes were delivering quality services. The result was a provision calling for these programs to be certified by a professional organization.

The AARC responded with the development of its Asthma Self Management Education (ASME) certification program. In the works for the past year, ASME has been through extensive beta testing and now it’s ready for primetime. The Association is officially launching the program this month.

Rhonda Vosmus' AH! Asthma Program, shown here at an asthma camp, was the first to receive ASME certification.
Rhonda Vosmus’ AH! Asthma Program, shown here at an asthma camp, was the first to receive ASME certification.

AARC member Rhonda Vosmus, RRT-NPS, AE-C, asthma education specialist with the award-winning AH! Asthma Health Program at Maine Medical Center in Portland (the program received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Asthma Program of the Year Award in 2007), assisted the AARC in the beta testing, and her program is the first to earn the certification.

Vosmus said that she first learned about the development of the ASME certification through the AARC and its publications, but, she said, “the decision to apply for this certification was not my decision alone. I work with a whole team of people (physicians, nurses, administration support), and this was a decision of our program team.” They applied to test the merits of their existing program to see how it held up as a model for nation asthma education standards.

She noted that the process was a rigorous one, but when they completed the application, they realized their program clearly met the expectations of a model ASME program, and “that was gratifying,” said Vosmus.

Through the ASME certification, the AH! program has already received increased recognition from the administration of their hospital. Local publications have highlighted their work. “Most importantly, this recognition will help solidify the merits of our program in the respiratory care community in our state.”

Vosmus can see the benefits for other asthma education programs across the country. Among those benefits, ASME could:

  • be used as a method of gauging what is required to give education and self management training.
  • engage the administration of the hospital in supporting quality asthma care.
  • be that springboard for reimbursement purposes.
  • be used as a marketing tool to attract new applicants.

If ASME sounds like something you’d like to explore for your department, check out the ASME program requirements and consider how you can put certification to work in your program today.

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