On March 11, 2020, the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee’s Health Subcommittee held a markup session for 13 bills, one of which was H.R. 2468, the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act. This bill, H.R. 2468, is, sponsored by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD-05) and Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN-01).
Under the bill, schools would receive preferential treatment for certain federal grants if they institute a student asthma management plan that meets the requirements outlined in the bill.
The original version required the school to consult with the student’s primary care provider to develop the student’s asthma management plan. Representatives for ACAAI’s Advocacy Council met with the bill’s sponsors to request broader language that requires schools to consult with the student’s primary care provider or the specialist who is managing the patient’s asthma and allergies.
The sponsors and the Subcommittee were very receptive to ACAAI’s message that in many cases a student’s allergy or asthma is managed by an allergist or a different specialist. Schools should therefore be required to consult with the provider who is managing the student’s allergy or asthma.
The Subcommittee unanimously approved an amendment to the bill that makes the change ACAAI requested.
The amended language will require schools to coordinate a student’s asthma management plan with “primary care providers of such students, primary asthma or allergy care providers of such students, and others as necessary.”
The bill requires that the school’s student asthma management plan is supervised by a school nurse. However, not every school has a nurse on premises during all operating hours. Many school districts have a shared nurse that services multiple schools in a district. The College asked the bill’s sponsors to clarify if a school nurse can oversee a school’s asthma management plans regardless of whether the nurse is on site during all operating hours. In response to this concern, the bill’s sponsors clarified that a nurse does not have to be on site during all operating hours to oversee the management plans.
The Subcommittee advanced the amended version of the bill to the full Energy and Commerce Committee. If the bill is advanced by the Committee, it will then go to the full House of Representatives for a vote on the House floor.
ACAAI issued the following statement thanking the subcommittee and the bill’s sponsors following the bill’s approval by the Health Subcommittee:
“The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) applauds the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee for advancing H.R. 2468, the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act to the full Committee. H.R. 2468 encourages schools to create robust student asthma management plans that are overseen by a school nurse. ACAAI thanks the bill’s sponsors, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD-05) and Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN-01) for their bipartisan leadership on this bill and for working with ACAAI to add language to the bill that requires schools to coordinate with a student’s asthma or allergy care provider when developing a student’s asthma management plan. We look forward to the full Committee’s consideration of the bill and we urge Congress to pass this legislation.”
In addition to H.R. 2468, the Subcommittee advanced H.R. 2117, the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act of 2019, which increases federal data collection on food allergies. The bill also gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to add any ingredient to its Major Food Allergen list and changes the soybean allergen disclosure requirements to soybean and sesame. Lastly, the bill requires the National Institutes of Health to study the economic impacts of food allergies.
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