In New York’s South Bronx community, one in five school-aged children has asthma — one of the highest rates in New York City. In response to this staggering statistic, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center’s Department of Pediatrics created the Childhood Asthma Management Program in 2000. Through clinical pediatric asthma services, community-based activities of the New York State Department of Health-funded asthma coalition, and hospital-community collaborative programming, the program promotes asthma-friendly environments and ensures the delivery of integrated health care services for children with asthma.
Early on, program staff members recognized that to improve asthma outcomes, they must not only improve provider knowledge and communication, but also strengthen the existing health system in which providers practice. As a result, the program conducts provider training sessions that translate asthma management recommendations into quality clinical practice to ensure that patients receive comprehensive asthma services across the care continuum. Furthermore, the program engages Medicaid to provide reimbursement incentives for provider participation in asthma education.
As the lead organization of the South Bronx Asthma Partnership, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center also partners with a variety of environmental agencies and community organizations to create tailored environmental interventions that address both indoor and outdoor asthma triggers. Program partners provide building walk-throughs, designate asthma-friendly zones at schools, and provide pest management assistance and air-sampling. In addition, the program distributes culturally appropriate and literacy-sensitive educational materials throughout the hospital and the community to promote patient self-management and encourage healthy behaviors in homes.
This multi-faceted approach to asthma care has resulted in tremendous success. Since 2003, Bronx- Lebanon Hospital Center has shown a 42 percent decrease in asthma-related hospitalizations, as well as a decrease in the length of stay of asthma-related hospitalizations. This equates to an annual average cost savings of about $431 per child. In addition, the National Asthma Control Initiative recently named the Bronx Lebanon partnership as a clinical champion in recognition of their efforts in promoting the Expert Panel Report 3 – Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma.