BACKGROUND: Asthma is a significant public health problem and driver of health care costs. Nearly one in seven California residents has been diagnosed. Asthma is of particular concern for low-income Californians, like the nearly two million Medi-Cal beneficiaries who have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives. Racial and ethnic disparities persist as well: for example, African Americans were more than four times more likely as Whites to report asthma-related emergency room use in 2015. Asthma also places a substantial financial burden on the state. For example, the total charges for asthma hospitalizations in California in 2010 were over $1 billion.
Over the two past years, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), Children Now and Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP) and a diverse set of partners worked with the Department of Health Care Services to address this problem through budget and legislative efforts. Although those efforts have been unsuccessful, they have helped solidify the need to address uncontrolled asthma among Medi-Cal enrollees and created a strong political will to establish policy interventions to do so. Additionally, there is a new opportunity to do more educating and advocating with Governor-elect Newsom and his administration.
2019 strategy: We propose to improve asthma care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries through: 1) Changing policy to expand supports for asthma patient education provided by non-licensed providers, such as community health workers, under the supervision of a licensed practitioner; and 2) Securing resources to remediate environmental asthma triggers.
If you work on asthma in California and would like to help promote our two policy platforms to address asthma, please sign your organization on to be a part of this campaign. If you're an individual without an organization, please sign on as well!