The AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies Healthy Hoops®
Healthy Hoops® focuses on two critical childhood health conditions: asthma and obesity. The program is the winner of NCQA’s Innovation in Multicultural Health Care award and the Public Relations Society of America Health Academy Innovation Award – Excellence in Community Relations, Special Events, and Observances. Healthy Hoops is an NCQA accredited program and is a trademarked outreach program of AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies.
Healthy Hoops teaches children with asthma, their parents, and their extended families how to manage their asthma and weight, through the appropriate use of medication, proper nutrition, monitored exercise and recreational activities targeting children three through eighteen years of age. With the guidance and supervision of celebrity basketball coaches and medical experts in asthma disease management, nutrition and weight management, the program includes asthma control screenings; health awareness exhibits; entertainment; asthma, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity health prevention; and basketball activities in local sports venues.
The top five objectives of Healthy Hoops are reflected and noted throughout peer-reviewed literature on Pediatric Asthma. Program objectives include:
- Increase in preventive medication use/decrease in rescue medication use;
- Improvement in forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity;
- Decrease in ER visits;
- Weight reduction;
- Improvement in overall fitness, as demonstrated by completion of exercises.
Removing Barriers to Deliver Guideline-Based Asthma Care
All Healthy Hoops events are open to AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies members and the community. Using clinical guidelines based on the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the program offers the following innovative approaches to removing barriers to delivering asthma care:
- Important clinical support for asthmatic children and their families including one-to-one education for parents, children and adult members about asthma, asthma care, high blood pressure, obesity and related issues, through health assessments and clinical monitoring.
- Educational seminars on asthma prevention and management throughout the year.
- Home visits, providing opportunities for environmental education and remediation of asthma triggers.
- Transportation for the entire family, as well as child care for siblings.
Building Local Capacity to Deliver Integrated Community-Based Care
The Healthy Hoops Coalition Program offers integrated community based care by:
- Hosting professional development sessions, where approximately 70 Philadelphia School Nurses and four Keystone Mercy Health Plan (KMHP) nurses participated. Sessions were led by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing faculty members.
- Hosting (through various community, county and celebrity stakeholders), one day mini-Healthy Hoops Programs, where over 760 children and their families were engaged in asthma education, weight management, and nutrition counseling. In addition, health screenings (blood pressure, height, weight, BMI,) and spirometry, peak flow and spacer education were provided.
Improving Capacity to Identify Those in Most Need
Recent statistics on pediatric asthma in Philadelphia show that:
- Approximately 22% of Philadelphia children under 18 have been diagnosed with asthma, much higher than the national rate of 14%.
- Over half (51.3%) of Philadelphia children with asthma went to an emergency room at least once in the past year due to asthma, versus over one-third (33.8%) of children in Philadelphia’s surrounding suburban counties. 1
The keys to the program are the physical assessment and screening of each of the children participating in the program and monitoring by the medical staff at all of the Healthy Hoops program sites. Diagnostic tests include: spirometry readings, vital flow, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and breath-sounds to identify wheezing, all of which help reduce disparities in asthma among Philadelphia youth.
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Overall, the program has shown significant clinical improvements among program participants. In the Philadelphia area, a total of 590 children were screened in 2011. This is the highest number of children receiving full screenings in the history of Healthy Hoops.
The following outcomes represent complete information available from clinical measures and claims data:
Medical Utilization Summary for 2010 KMHP Healthy Hoops Members:
KMHP 2010 Healthy Hoops pre and 12 months post-event data:
- IP Utilization Cost decreased 20.30%
- Specialist Visits decreased 39.76%.
Medication Summary for 2010 Healthy Hoops Members
Prior Post-Change (%)
- Controller Rx Count 44.44% (increased)
- Rescue Rx Count 8.82% (decreased)
- Decrease in school absenteeism, as reported by parents/guardians, by 20%;
- Decrease in nocturnal awakenings by 70%, as reported by parents/guardians;
- Daily nutritional improvement, as demonstrated through pre/post-program surveys; and
- Higher self-esteem, as demonstrated through pre/post-program surveys.