Asthma continues to be one of the most prevalent chronic lung diseases and growing health concerns in the state of Texas. Asthma, a potentially deadly illness, affects the lungs and causes the airways to become inflamed and swollen, and surrounding muscles to tighten. Symptoms include episodes of coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath.
According to the Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2005, an estimated 1.5 million (6.8 percent) adult Texans and 458 thousand (7.3 percent) children 0-17 years of age currently report having asthma. Also, an estimated 2.5 million (11.1 percent) adult Texans and 728 thousand (11.6 percent) children report having had asthma during their lifetime.
In addition, asthma has had a significant economic impact on the state of Texas. According to the Texas Health Care Information Collection in 2004, hospital discharges listing asthma as the principle diagnosis and other diagnoses account for about $353 million in total charges.
The Texas Asthma Plan serves as a planning tool to initiate asthma activities in the state of Texas. The 2007-2010 Edition contains issue items with updated goals and action steps specific to regional areas throughout Texas.
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Financial barriers to care among low-income children with asthma: health care reform implications.
JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Jul;168(7):649-56
Authors: Fung V, Graetz I, Galbraith A, Hamity C, Huang J, Vollmer WM, Hsu J, Wu AC
IMPORTANCE: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes subsidies that reduce patient cost sharing for low-income families. Limited information on the effects of cost sharing among children is available to guide these efforts.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations between cost sharing, income, and care seeking and financial stress among children with asthma.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A telephone survey in 2012 about experiences during the prior year within an integrated health care delivery system. Respondents included 769 parents of children aged 4 to 11 years with asthma. Of these, 25.9% of children received public subsidies; 21.7% were commercially insured with household incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and 18.2% had higher cost-sharing levels for all services (e.g., ≥$75 for emergency department visits). We classified children with asthma based on (1) current receipt of a subsidy (i.e., Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program) or potential eligibility for ACA low-income cost sharing or premium subsidies in 2014 (i.e., income ≤250%, 251%-400%, or >400% of the FPL) and (2) cost-sharing levels for prescription drugs, office visits, and emergency department visits. We examined the frequency of changes in care seeking and financial stress due to asthma care costs across these groups using logistic regression, adjusted for patient/family characteristics.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Switching to cheaper asthma drugs, using less medication than prescribed, delaying/avoiding any office or emergency department visits, and financial stress (eg, cutting back on necessities) because of the costs of asthma care.
RESULTS: After adjustment, parents at or below 250% of the FPL with lower vs higher cost-sharing levels were less likely to delay or avoid taking their children to a physician's office visit (3.8% vs. 31.6%; odds ratio, 0.07 [95% CI, 0.01-0.39]) and the emergency department (1.2% vs. 19.4%; 0.05 [0.01-0.25]) because of cost; higher-income parents and those whose children were receiving public subsidies (eg, Medicaid) were also less likely to forego their children's care than parents at or below 250% of the FPL with higher cost-sharing levels. Overall, 15.6% of parents borrowed money or cut back on necessities to pay for their children's asthma care.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Cost-related barriers to care among children with asthma were concentrated among low-income families with higher cost-sharing levels. The ACA's low-income subsidies could reduce these barriers for many families, but millions of dependents for whom employer-sponsored family coverage is unaffordable could remain at risk for cost-related problems because of ACA subsidy eligibility rules.
PMID: 24840805 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Stepwise treatment of asthma.
Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2014 Feb;47(1):65-75
Authors: Fornadley JA
Therapy for asthma has undergone substantial changes in the past three decades, prompted by a better understanding of the role of inflammation in reversible airway disease. Improved therapies and a workable algorithm of therapy guidelines have provided an improved quality of life for the patient with asthma. This article outlines the most recent revisions of the stepwise guidelines provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
PMID: 24286680 [PubMed - in process]
Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2014 Feb;47(1):55-64
Authors: Schofield ML
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway that leads to airway obstruction via bronchoconstriction, edema, and mucus hypersecretion. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program has outlined evidence-based guidelines to standardize asthma therapy and improve outcomes. The initial recommendation of choice for persistent asthmatic patients is an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS). Long-acting beta-2 agonists in combination with ICS, oral corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, and anti-IgE therapeutic options can be considered for patients with persistent or worsening symptoms. Many novel therapies are being developed, with an emphasis on anti-inflammatory mechanisms, gene expression, and cytokine modification.
PMID: 24286679 [PubMed - in process]
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