Connecticut Hospital Association – A different angle on asthma

A different angle on asthma

Hospital emergency departments are a vital part of our health care systems.  But they are not the best places for providing the ongoing care needed by those living with asthma.

Connecticut faces a number of challenges related to asthma, a potentially life-threatening chronic respiratory condition disproportionately affecting children, women, the elderly, urban residents, and the economically disadvantaged.  The state’s asthma rates are higher than the national average (11.3 percent of Connecticut’s children have asthma, compared with 9.5 percent in the nation overall; for adults, the rates are 9.2 percent for the state versus 7.7 percent nationwide)¹.  Additionally, asthma-related visits to hospital emergency departments are disproportionately high for Connecticut’s black and Latino residents, and for its Medicaid recipients.

The elevated rate of asthma-related emergency department use is indicative of problems many residents experience in accessing primary care. According to Madeleine Biondolillo, MD, vice president for population health management at the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA), “While appropriate clinical interventions are essential, asthma is also strongly affected by social determinants — conditions in homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities.”

With the help of a $100,000 grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation, CHA launched the Connecticut Asthma Initiative (CAI), bringing together hospitals, clinicians, and community partners to improve treatment and access, develop more effective models of care, and coordinate systems — schools, pharmacies, home visiting programs, doctors’ offices, and hospitals — to bridge the gaps that can lead to emergency department visits or hospitalizations.

The goals of the CAI are:

To achieve these goals, the CAI is focusing on three interventions with patients as they leave hospital care:

“We also want to change the way people think about asthma,” says Dr. Biondolillo, “so that instead of feeling overwhelmed and relying on emergency care, they have good options for taking control of the condition, and the support they need to do so.”

website: http://ctasthma.org/

¹CHA ChimeData 2013