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New Mexico Clinics Complete Program to Help Children, Parents Better Manage Asthma

(July 11, 2018) - Albuquerque, NM

For more information please contact:

James Martinez
[email protected]
(312) 445-2501

Six New Mexico health clinics recently completed the “Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma” program.  This program helps clinics guide children and their parents in better managing their asthma. American Lung Association in New Mexico and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) jointly sponsor the program.  Together, the organizations are helping to reduce asthma-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Participating clinics include:  Jicarilla Apache Health Care Facility in Dulce, NM; Las Vegas Medical Group, Pediatrics; Las Clinicas del Norte Mesa Vista School Based Health Center in Ojo Caliente; and three First Choice Community Healthcare Centers; Alamosa, South Broadway, and South Valley. 

“The Enhancing Care program allows health professionals to expand and improve care for children with asthma,” said Kathleen Moseley, regional asthma program director for the Lung Association. “The six participating clinics of the program now have new tools to help their patients with asthma live healthy, active lives.”

Throughout the year-long program, the clinics developed procedures to help children to “take-charge” of their asthma.  The clinics’ work starts with the first appointment through making a long-term treatment plan for the child. Clinic staff measured asthma charting, attended clinic meetings and learned through trainings conducted by the Lung Association.  The clinics were also offered coaching by the Lung Association. When patients with asthma visit one of Lung Association’s partner clinics, the clinic will measure how well they can breathe, update their asthma plan, and review and adjust medication. To measure success, the Lung Association works with clinics to do a 12- and 18-month review.

“Participating in this project has helped us to look at ourselves and the delivery of services that we perform daily. This project has allowed us to participate in looking at the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) Guidelines- the gold standard of asthma care-and how we can improve services to our patients. We at First Choice Alamosa are now performing the services recommended by the gold standard of asthma guidelines,” said Dianne Ortega, RN, First Choice Community Healthcare Alamosa Center.

The Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma program encourages clinics to schedule ‘planned asthma visits’ when the patient is well to help children and their families plan for possible asthma flare-ups. Clinics work with patients to make a long-term treatment plan for each child.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes breathing difficult. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma accounts for 439,000 hospitalizations and 1.7 million emergency department visits. Asthma is also the third leading cause of child hospitalization. In New Mexico, an estimated 44,500 children and 155,800 adults live with asthma. While there is no cure for asthma, people can manage asthma with knowledge and the right tools. 

Originally a three-year program, the “Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma” program launched in 2012 in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The program was extended an additional three years based on its success. Montana has joined the first five participating states. Data collected by BCBSNM shows that in 12 participating New Mexico clinics, asthma-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits have declined 80 percent. In addition, participating clinics have adopted this new method to treat other chronic illnesses. 

The Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma program can work with five or six clinics each year.  For more information, contact Moseley at [email protected] More asthma information and resources can also be accessed through the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA or at Lung.org/asthma.  

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About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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