(Last Updated On: June 19, 2017)
Autoimmune diseases (any disease or disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks itself) are among the most difficult diseases to diagnose and treat effectively. There are a multitude of autoimmune diseases, with overlapping symptoms and very few definitive, diagnostic tools.(1) The National Institute of Health estimates that there are 24-million Americans living with the most common autoimmune disorders. However, this number could be much higher due to long delays between emergence of symptoms and diagnosis.(2) Once a patient has developed an autoimmune disease, the likeliness of developing another, or developing other related chronic conditions, is very high. Because many autoimmune disorders are part of Medicare’s Chronic Care Management, CPT Code 99490 and 99487 plan, patients are eligible for chronic care management services. Consequently, Autoimmune Disease Chronic Care Management is a resource that can greatly assist patients and physicians with effective monitoring and treatment.
Inflammation: The Classic Sign of an Autoimmune Disorder
Autoimmune diseases are not limited to any one part of the body, or any one system. Instead, there are over eighty different types of diseases and disorders.(3) The one unifying symptom is inflammation. Just like when the immune system responds to foreign invaders, inflammation is caused by the immune system targeting different parts of the body. Often, treating the symptoms involve many trials of various medications, therapies, exercise regimens, and diets. Frequently, this process can be difficult for patients and caregivers. Chronic Care Management coordinators not only have all of that history, they can also monitor how participants are responding to any new interventions. CCM coordinators also provide assistance with maintaining regular doctor’s appointments and keeping track of referrals to specialists. Both of which are also critical to proper diagnoses and treatment. Clearly, CCM creates a much more efficient and responsive method to symptom management.
Coping with a Flare Up: How Autoimmune Disease Chronic Care Management Can Help
The most reliable aspect of an autoimmune disorder is its unreliability. Flares are times when the disease is more active and symptoms are more burdensome. Unfortunately, they can come up unexpectedly for newly diagnosed participants. In fact, many say that learning how to symptom track and link symptoms to changes in diet, stress, changing environments, or a change in the disease is a full-time job.(4) CCM coordinators work with participants and their physicians to ensure medication adherence, that treatment plans are followed, and that participants are promptly reporting symptom changes. The reassurance of having access to a CCM coordinator 24/7 can greatly reduce the stress of challenges that come from living with an autoimmune disease.
Important Resource for Caregivers/Family
Helping and caring for a loved one who is living with an autoimmune disease can be difficult and may strain even the strongest relationships. The ever-fluctuating nature of these disorders make it a challenge to create long-term plans, develop working strategies, and find emotional support. A CCM coordinator assists caregivers with the responsibility of autoimmune disease chronic care management in numerous ways. By making doctor’s appointments, finding financial aid, connecting participants with support groups, and by providing assistance to caregivers, a CCM coordinator should work to alleviate the stress associated with providing care for loved ones. Therefore, the goal of Autoimmune Disease Chronic Care Management should be able to furnish the guidance caregivers and participants need to improve health outcomes.
- Ellis, Glen, “Autoimmune Diseases are Often Tricky to Diagnose,” The Philadelphia Tribune, 2017, May 16, [Online: June 2017]. http://www.phillytrib.com/news/autoimmune-diseases-are-often-tricky-to-diagnose/article_61f65751-5c02-54d4-9a64-38597bf195e8.html
- May, Brandon, “Autoimmune Diseases: All you Need to Know,” Medical News Today, February 21, 2017, [Online: June 2017]. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311852.php
- American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, Inc. “Autoimmune Disease List,” 2017, [Online: June 2017]. https://www.aarda.org/diseaselist/
- Office of Women’s Health, “Autoimmune Diseases,” April 28, 2017, [Online: June 2017], https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/autoimmune-diseases