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Asthma Awareness Month: Recognizing Achievements In Asthma Control

posted by Alicia Caramenico

on May 27, 2016

In the United States, asthma affects about 25 million people of all ages and races. Yet significant gaps exist regarding public awareness of common asthma triggers and effective asthma management strategies. A key goal of Asthma Awareness Month (May) is to close these gaps and help improve the lives of people living with asthma.

Throughout the year, health plans are leading successful asthma management strategies in collaboration with community organizations and public health agencies.

Each year as part of Asthma Awareness Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honors innovative asthma management programs that are improving the health and well-being of people with asthma. AHIP member plan AmeriHealth Caritas was one of four organizations to receive this year’s National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management.

The EPA recognized AmeriHealth Caritas for its comprehensive asthma management program that’s helping Medicaid recipients and their families better manage their asthma. The ability to access asthma care services is especially important for residents of west and northwest Philadelphia, where one out of four children has physician-diagnosed asthma or was admitted to the hospital for wheezing.

AmeriHealth Caritas’ award-winning initiative uses an evidence-based, integrated, population health approach to providing access to asthma medication and supplies, as well as asthma education, assessment, and interventions.

Care managers and community health workers play an important role in providing face-to-face and telephone support for members and their families and addressing social determinants of health. Integrating environmental management into its asthma program, AmeriHealth Caritas delivered 875 asthma home kits from 2013 through 2015, which include hypoallergenic mattress and pillowcase covers, storage bins, trash bags, cockroach bait stations, and cleaning supplies to help reduce environmental asthma triggers in homes. During that time, the asthma program also led to statistically significant improvements in asthma controller medication adherence rates, acute hospitalizations, and hospital readmissions.

For more information about AHIP’s multi-year cooperative agreement with the EPA, opportunities to get involved and stay informed of the latest updates, including how to apply for next year’s award, please visit http://ahip.org/asthma/.