National Lipid Association Announces Designation for Experts in Clinical Lipidology

Newly Defined Term Lipid Specialist Aims to Formalize Medical Specialty, Enhance Public Understanding of Blood Fat Disorders and Optimal Treatment

Jacksonville, Florida, UNITED STATES

MIAMI, Fla., May 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicating more than 95 million adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol (blood fat) levels that put them at higher risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke and coronary death, it’s no surprise there is a need for health care professionals of all disciplines who provide specialized care to those patients unable to manage their cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and related disorders.

Still, efforts to consistently communicate that expertise to the lay public, along with more formalized recognition of this specialty within the medical community, has been largely lacking.

That is all about to change with the National Lipid Association’s (NLA) announcement today of the Lipid Specialist designation. NLA made the announcement during the organization’s 2019 Scientific Sessions, being held May 16 -19 in Miami.

A Lipid Specialist is defined as a health care professional certified by the American Board of Clinical Lipidology (ABCL) or Accreditation Council for Clinical Lipidology (ACCL) specializing in the identification and management of dyslipidemia and related metabolic disorders which lead to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and other morbidities.

The value of the Lipid Specialist designation was underscored in the 2018
AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA Guideline on the Management of Blood Cholesterol: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Guidelines, the gold standard for cholesterol management.

The guidelines recommended patient referral to -- or consultation with -- a lipid specialist in a number of circumstances, particularly when managing challenging conditions such as severe hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia.

“Adoption of the term Lipid Specialist is a positive and overdue step towards establishing Clinical Lipidology in the taxonomy of medicine,” says Dr. James Underberg, incoming President of the ABCL and Past President of the NLA, which -- along with the ACCL --  is supporting the Lipid Specialist initiative. “Further, a unified message to the public about who Lipid Specialists are and the expertise they offer to patients in need is a vital step in supporting patient advocacy efforts.

“There are therapies available to patients that can be prescribed by Lipid Specialists,” he added. “Increasing awareness of this terminology will help the public understand the expertise of Lipid Specialists as well as identify those providers who can prescribe optimal therapies.”

Beyond public awareness efforts, the NLA also is pursuing recognition of a provider taxonomy code through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) using the newly defined term. This recognition will allow those providers who meet designation criteria to bill CMS for their highly specialized skills in lipid management.

The application to CMS is expected in 2020, with a projected decision in 2021.

The NLA is a multidisciplinary specialty society focused on prevention of cardiovascular disease and other lipid-related disorders. The NLA’s mission is to enhance the practice of lipid management in clinical medicine, and one of its goals is to enhance efforts to reduce death and disability related to disorders of lipid metabolism in patients. Members include physicians (MDs and DOs) and other health care professionals from an array of disciplines including PhDs researchers, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, exercise physiologists, and dietitians.

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Mary Green
407-506-2960 (cell)