Asthma Disparities

CDC Highlights Easy Breathing Results

A new publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights the work of our Easy Breathing program, which is an evidence-based and cost-effective asthma management program that is being used by primary care providers in Connecticut and four additional states.

The report, titled Evidence Summary Control Asthma, suggests interventions that insurance companies and healthcare providers should consider adopting to improve outcomes for patients with asthma and references several publications by Asthma Center staff. The report is part of the CDC’s 6|18 Initiative which targets six common and costly health conditions: tobacco use, high blood pressure, healthcare-associated infections, asthma, unintended pregnancies and diabetes. The goal of the initiative is to align “evidence-based preventive practices with emerging value-based payment and delivery models.”

Both the Asthma Center’s 2009 submission to the American Journal of Managed Care, “The economic impact of an urban asthma management program,” and the 2005 Journal of Pediatrics article “Use of asthma guidelines by primary care providers to reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits in poor, minority, urban children” are used to illustrate the need for rigorous and attentive care for asthma versus the cost of care and insurance coverage. In particular, the CDC cites that providing ongoing National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEEP) Guidelines-based medical education to primary care physicians has been shown to increase the dispensing of asthma controller medication by 25 percent, based on a study conducted with over 3,200 urban children. The CDC also highlights dramatic figures such as an estimated $3.58 return on investment for Medicaid managed care plans for every $1.00 spent. The CDC also references that due to increased provider adherence to NAEPP Guidelines for prescribing anti-inflammatory controller medication, asthma-related ED visits decreased by 27 percent, hospitalizations decreased by 35 percent and outpatient visits decreased by 19 percent, which underscores the value of utilizing these guidelines in the effort to improve asthma management.

The Asthma Center, through its Easy Breathing program, is committed to providing evidence-based asthma practices to the primary care community. We are now in the process of responding to requests from primary care clinicians to “digitize” Easy Breathing. Still in its original paper format, Easy Breathing is being adapted to better align and integrate with the electronic health record.

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