Leading experts in asthma policy and research have asserted that to improve health outcomes and reduce asthma-related health care costs, it is important to augment high-quality medical management with asthma self-management education
and home visiting programs.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States, affecting nearly one in 12 adults and one in 11 children. In 2007, asthma imposed estimated costs in the United States of $56 billion, more than $50 billion of which was for direct medical expenses. Leading experts in asthma policy and research have asserted that to improve health outcomes and reduce asthma-related health care costs, it is important to augment high-quality medical management with asthma self-management education and home visiting programs. Studies indicate that when those three evidence-based public health interventions are provided for children in a stepwise manner, they have the potential to yield a positive return on investment (ROI). Those interventions have been found to reduce emergency department visits and hospitalizations, improve asthma control, decrease the frequency of symptoms, decrease work and school absenteeism, and improve quality of life. Guidelines developed by an expert panel convened by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) also support that approach.
Governors can improve population health outcomes and health care quality and reduce health care costs by incorporating evidence-based asthma interventions for children in their overall agenda for state health care transformation. Governors can use the following strategies to implement and finance asthma-based interventions:
- • Use a broad range of qualified providers to support effective and efficient delivery of asthma services;
- • Encourage collaboration and resource sharing for asthma initiatives across public and private programs and sectors;
- • Encourage health insurers to improve clinical management and reimburse for asthma education and home visit services; and
- • Build efficiency and sustainability for the interventions through evaluation.