Health Plans Leading The Way In Asthma Care

posted by Natalie Slaughter

on January 21, 2016

Health plans are recognized yearly by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through its National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management for pioneering innovative strategies and programs to help consumers better manage their asthma. Their work in providing access to asthma care services is important, as asthma affects more than 25 million Americans each year, including nearly 7 million children. Asthma costs include an estimated $50 billion in health care expenses, as well as days missed from work and school.

Since 2005, the U.S. EPA has recognized more than 34 health plans, health care providers, and community programs through this national award.  Health plan awardees include Blue Cross of California, State Sponsored Business Unit; Centene Corporation, Nurtur, Managed Health Services; L.A. Cares About Asthma; Monroe Plan for Medical Care; Neighborhood Health Plan; Optima Health, Peach State Health Plan; and Priority Health.

For health plans working to keep asthma sufferers healthy and reduce exposure to environmental asthma triggers, applications for this year’s award are available online and must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 31. Previous health plan award recipients discussed the value of receiving the nation’s highest honor for delivering excellent environmental asthma management and why it’s important to identify and promote asthma care best practices:

Seize this opportunity to drive the success of your asthma program. The EPA Award gave us a springboard into asthma management and this helped us to leverage resources for other areas, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).  EPA recognition gave us the impetus into program development. Using the six key drivers helps to set the stage for further excellence in program development.
Mary Cooley, MS, RN, Associate Vice President, Care Management and Operations, PriorityHealth

Since we received recognition through the EPA, we were able to partner with our public health department and work to have them reimbursed for the home-based services they provide to our members. The award really helped us to develop our asthma program and propelled us into the asthma treatment community in the local area. Our program has gotten stronger and the networking that resulted from winning has continued to help us. We now work closely with all the experts in the field.
– John Pruett RN, BSN, CRT, Asthma Care Manager, Neighborhood Health Plan

We felt our outcomes were significant enough to be mentioned. EPA recognition really helped us to structure our approach to asthma management. It forces the health plan to look at the data, identify what they are doing and where they can improve. It also helps the employees to see and understand how their work benefits the members.
– Woody V. Kageler, MD, Medical Director, Nurtur

With the EPA Award, we received recognition in the community. It fit well with our mission and brought us into the spotlight.
– Anna Hamedani, RN, BSN, PHN, Manager, Asthma Disease Management, Disease Management, L.A. Care

Health insurance plans have long been committed to improving the lives of individuals with asthma through comprehensive asthma management strategies. Their approaches involve evidence-based asthma interventions to improve quality of care and lower health care costs; data analytics and outreach programs to identify and engage members into patient-centered asthma care programs; and partnerships with regional, state and community-based organizations to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care to members with asthma.

To learn about the 2016 application process for the EPA Award and for more information on AHIP’s multi-year cooperative agreement with the EPA and opportunities to get involved, please visit

Natalie Slaughter is Senior Health Research Associate, Clinical Affairs at AHIP.

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