FAQ

Provider

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Who is United Allergy Services?

United Allergy Services is a medical services company that specializes in providing fully-staffed and operational allergy centers inside qualified provider offices. UAS manages the functional aspects of your allergy center and lets you manage the clinical side. You can provide the full array of seasonal and perennial allergy testing and immunotherapy for your patients in your own office.

What is my initial investment for installing an allergy center?

There is no up-front financial investment required from you. You medically supervise United Allergy Services personnel within the allergy center and make all medical decisions for your patients. United Allergy Services only provides allergy services to the patients that you recommend for allergy testing and that you approve for immunotherapy. You provide space and accommodations for United Allergy Services staff including a full size refrigerator to store medications, phone line, internet access and access to a sink.

What is United Allergy Service’s investment?

United Allergy Services will provide, at its own cost, all personnel, supplies and equipment needed for your allergy center to function smoothly and efficiently. United Allergy Services has also invested heavily in the training of our Certified Clinical Allergy Technicians/Specialists (CAT/CAS). They are trained in the latest techniques for allergy testing and meet or exceed Federal Standards for allergy testing. The CAT/CAS is certified through a rigorous program by the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). UIW is an accredited university, nationally recognized for its healthcare degree programs and certifications.

How are payments made to the practice?

You maintain total control of cash flow. Insurance companies will pay you in the same manner as they do currently. You will continue to receive insurance reimbursements and collect patient co-pays for services rendered. United Allergy Services will then assist with the revenue cycle process and invoice you for services provided to you and your patient’s incident to and under the supervision of the healthcare provider.

Who manages the allergy center?

You, the provider, will determine which patients are candidates for allergy testing and immunotherapy services. You will manage all medical decisions and supervise the clinical aspects of the allergy center.

What is required of my staff?

Because United Allergy Services only provides services upon your request, you and your staff must facilitate patient identification and scheduling. You will also need to provide assistance with the collection of patient data to confirm medical necessity, as well as administrative help processing and communicating with payers regarding insurance benefits and payments.

Will training be provided?

United Allergy Services provides training for administrative and clinical staff. Training includes information about immunotherapy science and regulatory requirements. We also do extensive training with the providers and providers on site. We will go over step-by-step what is required of you and how we will integrate into your practice.

What ongoing support will be provided by United Allergy Services?

United Allergy Services (UAS) will provide ongoing continuing education for UAS staff and for providers. United Allergy Services will manage and support all administrative and technical requirements of the allergy center. The local United Allergy Services Account Manager assigned to your practice will work with your staff on a daily basis to ensure a successful partnership.

How will the allergy center be promoted?

United Allergy Services will provide you with patient education and marketing materials for your office in order to communicate to your patients. We also work closely with your practice to assist in other marketing programs such as print, online, broadcast and television advertising, direct mail campaigns, media communications and signage.

Do I have to be an allergist to perform immunotherapy?

Designing and implementing allergy immunotherapy protocols is within the scope of practice for MDs and DOs. Most mid-level practitioners may also supervise the preparation of the immunotherapy serum. This may vary based on individual state guidelines and health plan policy.

What is the typical patient profile for allergy testing and immunotherapy?

The typical immunotherapy patient suffers from seasonal environmental allergies. Further, the immunotherapy patient may have only experienced partial benefits or had unsuccessful experiences with standard allergy medications that failed to provide a solution. Finally, the patient needs to be willing and capable of complying with the requirements of an immunotherapy program.

How is the test performed?

Under provider supervision, the CAT/CAS performs skin (prick) testing for seasonal and perennial allergens (including dust mites, weeds, trees, grasses, molds, pet dander and cockroach). Skin (prick) testing creates a IgE mediated reaction on the surface of the skin that can be measured and these positive results create the basis for the discussion of “avoidance therapy” and the formulation of individualized allergen immunotherapy vials.

How is immunotherapy administered?

After the patient has tested positive for various antigens, the provider examines the test results for clinical significance. Then, if the provider and the patient choose, the CAT/CAS prepares the customized immunotherapy specific to each patient. The immunotherapy is administered subcutaneously either in the office or the patients can also safely self-administer at home, if the provider deems it appropriate through United Allergy Services guidelines.

What types of patients have contraindications?

The exclusion criteria in part consists of a history of severe allergic reactions, or uncontrolled asthma, the use of beta blockers, pregnancy, the use of immunosuppressant medications (e.g. chemotherapy etc.), uncontrolled hypertension or significant cardiopulmonary disorders (e.g. CHF, MI, cardiac arrhythmias or moderate to severe COPD), and those with extensive atopic dermatitis or psoriasis may not be good candidates for immunotherapy. An extensive allergy history will be taken on each patient before commencing allergy testing and immunotherapy.

What is required prior to testing?

An ear, nose, and throat exam is performed by the provider and the provider determines if testing is medically appropriate. If the patient is currently taking antihistamines, he/she should discontinue usage prior to testing based on the time it takes for the medication to metabolize out of the patient’s system and on the provider’s clinical judgment.

Patient

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How is the allergy test performed, and is it painful?

The allergy test is not painful. A multiple headed percutaneous test devise gently pricks or abrades the skin’s surface. After the test is performed, it takes about 15 minutes to develop. A positive test will appear as a raised, red bump on the skin, similar to a mosquito bite.

How long does the allergy test take?

The test takes approximately 30 minutes to administer and 15 minutes to register the results – so you don’t have to wait long to learn the possible cause of your allergies.

Who can be tested?

Adults and children over the age of two years can be tested for allergies. This is especially helpful for patients who suffer with allergic asthma, allergic pneumonitis, conjunctivitis, undiagnosed cough, atopic dermatitis (skin irritation), insect allergy, rhinitis, sinusitis, allergic urticaria (hives) and angioedema (similar to hives, but beneath the skin).

Which allergens will be tested for?

You will be tested for the most frequent geographically specific seasonal and perennial allergens in your area. We will test for products from dust mites, proteins from pet hair and dander, trees, grass and weed pollens, molds and cockroach allergens. UAS does not test or treat for food or stinging insect related allergies.

What is immunotherapy?

Allergen immunotherapy is a form of treatment aimed at decreasing your sensitivity to substances called allergens. Immunotherapy involves introducing increasing amounts of an allergen to a patient over several months.

How long will I have to be on immunotherapy?

The course of immunotherapy varies by individual. The initial full course of immunotherapy is one to three years, but symptom relief can and often occurs after one year of therapy. Completing three to five years of therapy has shown long-term benefits.

How soon will I see results from immunotherapy?

Relief from allergies varies by individual, however, relief can occur within the first few months of therapy.

What if I am currently taking antihistamines?

In order to achieve the most accurate test results, you should discontinue any antihistamines, over-the-counter or prescription, for at least three days or longer depending on the medication prior to allergy testing. You may safely resume the use of antihistamines once you begin immunotherapy.

What are the benefits of allergy testing and immunotherapy?

One in five people suffer from symptomatic allergies. These symptoms can vary greatly from minor discomfort to severe disability. The cost of allergies can be significant when factoring in lost productivity and days off from work and school. Combined with expensive drugs that serve only to mask the symptoms, the average cost to patients can be upwards of $2,000 per year. *

Is immunotherapy effective in eliminating allergies?

Yes, immunotherapy is very effective in greatly decreasing or even eliminating the symptoms of allergies. Up to 85%* receive a complete cure or a noticeable reduction in allergy symptoms.

Are the testing and immunotherapy covered by insurance?

Yes, most insurance plans cover allergy testing and immunotherapy. We will verify insurance benefits prior to testing.

Is immunotherapy effective for children?

Yes, in addition to being 85% – 95% effective, allergen immunotherapy has been shown to prevent the development of asthma.

How long before I can expect to see my allergy symptoms improve on the immunotherapy treatment?

You may experience some symptom relief within the first year. Consult with your physician if you if you have not experienced symptom improvement within the first year of treatment.

How are specific allergens selected for immunotherapy?

Allergens are selected based on an assessment from your provider and also your reaction to specific seasonal and perennial allergens that you have been tested for.

How often will I see my provider to discuss my allergies?

You will have a visit with your physician to discuss the results of your allergy test and why IT is recommended. At three and six months of IT. Every six months from then on.

How can I benefit the most from my immunotherapy treatment?

Following your IT schedule and remaining compliant will help insure you get the most benefit from your immunotherapy program.

My allergy symptoms are only in the spring and summer. Can I receive my immunotherapy treatment just at that time?

Limiting your immunotherapy to just the spring and summer does not give your immune system time to adapt to allergens which cause you to have symptoms. Immunotherapy injections are required year-round to experience the long-term benefits.

Which allergens will I be tested for?

You will be tested for the most frequent geographically specific seasonal and perennial allergens in your area. You will be tested for dust mites, proteins from pet hair and dander, trees, grass and weed pollens, molds and cockroach allergens. UAS does not test or treat for food or stinging insect related allergies.

United Allergy Services

Download UAS FAQs

Who is United Allergy Services?

United Allergy Services (UAS) is a medical services company that specializes in providing fully staffed and operational allergy centers inside providers’ offices. UAS manages the functional aspects of an allergy center and primary care providers manage the clinical side.

Who does United Allergy Services work with?

United Allergy Services brings effective and convenient allergy testing and immunotherapy to primary care providers; pulmonologists; ENT providers; pediatricians; internal medicine providers; and healthcare systems that treat the vast majority of patients with seasonal and perennial allergies.

What does United Allergy Services do?

United Allergy Services exists to empower qualified providers to advance the understanding of immunotherapy (IT) as the only known disease-modifying treatment for allergies. United Allergy Services uses skin (prick) testing as the best way to determine with precision the allergy a patient is suffering from.

What is immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy (IT) is a series of injections of customized allergy extracts administered over a period of years in order to suppress the body’s reaction to a specific allergen. IT has been proven to reduce pharmacy, outpatient and health care costs, while decreasing the development of new sensitivities and reducing the progression of asthma in children.

Does it work?*

95% of patients had improved allergic rhinitis scores 82% of patients reported diminished use of medications 88% of patients reported improved Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire scores after IT 86% would recommend allergy testing and immunotherapy to friends and family 82% feel comfortable administering immunotherapy injections 85% of people treated with IT for hay fever may achieve symptom relief within the first year of starting immunotherapy After 3-5 years of complete IT treatment, most patients experience little or no allergy symptoms

Is it safe?

More than 10 million allergy tests have been conducted and 14 million IT treatments have been administered—83% of those being done in the patient’s home. IT is a proven, safe treatment and United Allergy Services has treated 115,000 patients (which equals to more than 15 million injections).

What is the United Allergy Services Systemic Reaction Rate vs. allergists?

United Allergy Services Systemic Reaction Rate for home immunotherapy is 0.16% compared to the allergist rate of 4-7%. Rush therapy is an even higher rate at 34%. *

United Allergy Services tests for what kind of allergies?

United Allergy Services test for the 48 most common seasonal and perennial allergens (such as mold, airborne, dust mite, cat and cockroach) in your geographic location.

What percentage of United Allergy Services patients on immunotherapy are pediatric patients (2-17 years of age)?

23% of United Allergy Services patients are pediatric patients.

How many providers are partnered with United Allergy Services?

There are over 2,600 practitioners that provide the allergy service line throughout 25 states.

How does United Allergy Services operate?

Request an implementation chart from us to show how we prepare your practice for allergy testing and IT treatment.

What are the billing procedures and what insurance carriers reimburse for the United Allergy Services allergy line?

The practice completes their billing procedures as normal. All reimbursements and copays are paid directly to the practice and United Allergy Services will invoice the practice for contracted service fees. Most major commercial plans and government plans reimburse for the two CPT codes for: skin (prick) test and mixing of immunotherapy on site.

Allergy

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What is an allergy?

Allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system to a usually harmless substance called allergens. This response releases a chemical within the body called histamine, which allows you to feel common allergy symptoms.

What are common allergens?

Grass, tree and weed pollens, mold, dust mites and pet dander are most common.

What are common symptoms of an allergic reaction?

Itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, itchy throat, runny nose and rashes are most common. Most symptoms will subside after the body is no longer exposed to that allergen. The most severe reaction is anaphylaxis, characterized by shortness of breath, tightness in the throat, rapidly swelling tongue, nausea, abdominal cramps, uterine cramps, sense of impending doom and a spreading rash. This reaction is life threatening so seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing these symptoms. Epinephrine is the treatment of choice should these symptoms occur following an immunotherapy injection.

What happens during an allergic reaction?

When exposed to an allergen, the body starts to produce a specific type of antibody, called IgE. Together the allergen, lgE and blood cell (specifically mast cells) join causing the mast cells to release a variety of chemicals into the blood. Histamine, the main chemical, causes most of the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

What allergens are seasonal?

In spring, the blossoming of flowers, plants and trees means pollen is high. In summer, grass allergens can be most common during these typically dry air months. In fall, bad weather like rain and wind cause mold and weed pollen to be prevalent. In winter, pollen levels are lower, but people also experience more indoor allergies since they’re not outside as much.

How many people suffer from allergies?

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies.

What is the most prevalent chronic disease?

It’s asthma and allergies – striking 1 of 5 Americans. This is higher than cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

What is the economic cost to allergies?

This disease costs more than $7.9 billion per year, most of which is spent on direct care and the rest relating to lost work productivity.

What types of treatment are there?

You can try to avoid or control your environment to lessen allergen interactions, treat with pharmaceuticals or immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is the only known disease-modifying treatment for allergies and has lasting results when the course of therapy is completed.

What is immunotherapy?

Allergen immunotherapy is a form of treatment aimed at decreasing your sensitivity to substances called allergens. Immunotherapy involves introducing increasing amounts of an allergen to a patient over several months.

Sources:

Allergen immunotherapy: A practice parameter third update. Linda Cox, M.D., Harold Neson, M.D. and Richard Lockey, M.D. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. September 23, 2010. Frederick M. Schaffer, M.D., Lisa Welchel, FNPc, Hope Soliz, Tim Crimmins, Myla Ebeling, PhD, Tom Hulsey, PhD, Larry Garner, CPT, BA, . “The Safety of Home Immunotherapy Utilizing the United Allergy Services Protocol. Manuscript in preparation. (2012) American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Allergy treatment. Accessed February 1, 2011. Möller C, Dreborg S, Ferdousi HA, et al. Pollen immunotherapy reduces the development of asthma in children with seasonal rhinoconjunctivitis (the PAT-Study). J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002;109:251-256.

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