NYC Health + Hospitals is expanding a care-management program to help children who suffer frequent or severe asthma attacks.
Through the initiative, primary care doctors develop action plans for children with poorly controlled asthma who have experienced complications such as two emergency room visits in a six-month period. Community health workers make home visits, in which they discuss treatment plans and the proper use of medications, and check for environmental triggers, such as rodents, pests, mold and dust. The health system, which is budgeting $4.7 million for the program, is offering free pillowcases, cleaning supplies and pest-control services to address those problems.
About 84,000 city children ages 12 and under, or 6.1% of that age-group, have asthma, according to the city Health Department. Asthma rates for Latino and black children, at 9.8% and 6.9% respectively, are higher than the rate for white children.
Health + Hospitals is adopting the program at 10 public hospitals and six of its Gotham health centers. Other medical partners include Dr. Sheldon Lippman, Boriken Neighborhood Health Center and Community Health Network, Gentle Touch Medical, SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Urban Health Plan.
The organizations providing community health workers in addition to the health system are A.I.R. NYC, Asian Community Care Management, CABS Home Attendants Service, LSA Family Health Service, Make the Road New York, St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children and VillageCare.
“We know our communities well and have done outreach before, so patients are more comfortable allowing us into their homes, which is an important element of support in the program,” Janise Germosen, community health worker supervisor at Asian Community Care Management, said in a statement. —J.L.