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Berlin, Md. – On May 22, the National Institutes of Health in a collaborative effort with representatives from across the entire COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) community, released the COPD National Action Plan. This first-of-its-kind document provides a unified framework to guide stakeholders nationwide in their efforts to work together to positively impact the effect of the disease.

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, affecting 16 million Americans and millions more who have not yet been diagnosed. Over time, this lung disease can affect the ability to breathe and lead to long-term disability. Although COPD is not curable, it is highly treatable, and early diagnosis can lead to an improved quality of life. Everyone has an important role to play in the success of the COPD National Action Plan.

“Atlantic General Hospital is excited about the release of this plan and we look forward to collaborating with others in the COPD community to ensure its successful implementation,” commented Lou Brecht, Lead Respiratory Therapist Atlantic General Pulmonary Clinic.

The Action Plan addresses the needs of patients and the greater public, health care delivery and practice guidelines, research potential, and policy implications. Broken into five goals, each goal of the Action Plan is designed to address a different aspect of COPD so that the entire spectrum of complex issues related to the disease is covered.

Goal 1: Empower patients, their families, and caregivers to recognize and reduce the burden of COPD; Goal 2: Equip health care professionals to provide comprehensive care to people with COPD; Goal 3: Collect, analyze, report, and disseminate COPD data; Goal 4: Increase and sustain COPD research; Goal 5: Turn COPD recommendations into research and public health care Actions. Brecht, Lead Respiratory Therapist at the Pulmonary Clinic participated in the NHLBI (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute) COPD Town Hall collaborating on goal 2.

Atlantic General is helping our COPD patients with these goals through the establishment of the Pulmonary Clinic to educate and provide a forum for patients to get questions answered and to foster self-management of COPD. The Pulmonary Clinic has also invested in training for the Registered Respiratory Therapists through the American Association for Respiratory Care. These Therapists are now certified COPD educators. The Pulmonary Clinic has also adopted the eBright ACO standardized guidelines to help with diagnosis, treatment and improved quality of life for patients with COPD.

To learn more about the Action Plan, visit To learn more about the Atlantic General Pulmonary Clinic, please visit

About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md., combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. It provides quality specialty care such as weight loss surgery, orthopedics, outpatient infusion and chemotherapy for individuals with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, and a comprehensive women’s diagnostic center. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit