In 1997, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, published the second Expert Panel Report (EPR-2): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Expert Panel Report 2: Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 1997; publication no. 97-4051. Available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/ asthma/asthgdln.pdf). Subsequently, the NAEPP Expert Panel identified key questions regarding asthma management that were submitted to an evidence practice center of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to conduct a systematic review of the evidence. The resulting evidence report was used by the Expert Panel to update recommendations for clinical practice on selected topics. These recommendations (EPR-Update 2002) were published in 2002. (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma--update on selected topics 2002. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002;110[November 2002, part 2]. Available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/index.htm). To improve the implementation of these guidelines, a working group of the Professional Education Subcommittee of the NAEPP extracted key clinical activities that should be considered as essential for quality asthma care in accordance with the EPR-2 guidelines and the EPR-Update 2002. The purpose was to develop a report that would help purchasers and planners of health care define the activities that are important to quality asthma care, particularly in reducing symptoms and preventing exacerbations, and subsequently reducing the overall national burden of illness and death from asthma. This report is intended to help employer health benefits managers and other health-care planners make decisions regarding delivery of health care for persons with asthma. Although this report is based on information directed to clinicians; it is not intended to substitute for recommended clinical practices for caring for persons with asthma, nor is it intended to replace the clinical decision-making required to meet individual patient needs. Readers are referred to the EPR-2 for the full asthma guidelines regarding diagnosis and management of asthma or to the abstracted Practical Guide (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Practical guide for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 1997; publication no. 97-4053. Available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/lung/asthma/practgde.htm) and to the EPR-Update 2002. The 1997 EPR-2 guidelines and EPR-Update 2002 were derived from a consensus of leading asthma researchers from academic, clinical, federal and voluntary institutions and based on scientific evidence supported by the literature. The 10 key activities highlighted here correspond to the four recommended-as-essential components of asthma management: assessment and monitoring, control of factors contributing to asthma severity, pharmacotherapy and education for a partnership in care. The key clinical activities are not intended for acute or hospital management of patients with asthma but rather for the preventive aspects of managing asthma long term. This report was developed as a collaborative activity between CDC and the NAEPP.