Dear Digest Reader,
I am pleased to report that we had a tremendous upsurge in volunteers from the community to become COPD Advocates and, as the momentum is building, we need to ask each of you to help increase the involvement of individuals with COPD, their family members, friends and health care providers. We need to have millions, not tens of thousands of COPD Advocates, supporting the community.
As many of you know, the COPD Foundation has launched an initiative to include a question about COPD on each state Department of Healths Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). As reported in the last issue, the NHLBI has given the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the funding to support the cost for each state to include a COPD question on the BRFSS.
Our call to action to have COPD Advocates meet with the BRFSS Coordinator in each state on World COPD Day, is a critical step in getting the resources to collect more accurate information about the impact of COPD in America. As COPD Advocates, we must address issues at both the state and federal level. There are ongoing challenges with the states Medicare services and the need to support states COPD Coalition initiatives with the legislators to implement COPD action plans. This issue provides you with information and access to your own advocacy and awareness kit. The Foundation has also communicated with each BRFSS Coordinator and provided background information and referral for funding to the CDC. The importance of having an active advocacy campaign for COPD has been highlighted in our engagement in health care reform discussions on Capitol Hill and at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Maintaining support for more prescribed therapies and treatment for COPD as a chronic disease, protecting access to supplemental oxygen and remaining vigilant on an appropriate policy for pulmonary rehabilitation, has kept all of us busy the first few months. It is very clear that we need to increase the intensity and get more COPDers involved to effectively meet the challenges that we face in the coming months.
November is COPD Awareness Month and we need each of you to talk with your family, friends, neighbors and community organizations about living with COPD. There are awareness events being held all across the country. Please participate in these events and call 1-866-316-COPD (2673) and sign up to become a COPD Advocate in our Operation 435 Program. It is clear it is up to each and every one of us.
To conserve funds, we use this fall issue of the Digest as our annual appeal, so you wont get any direct mail solicitation from us. You all realize the impact the downturn of the economy has made on everyone and we acknowledge that your extra effort this year to help support the COPD Foundation to be able to increase the level of services and information that we are providing to our community. We cannot over-emphasize the importance of individual contributions no matter how small.
Thank you for all your support and involvement. We know we can make a difference! COPD is mostly preventable, almost always treatable and someday, curable.
Best Regards,John W. Walsh, President