|May 08, 2008||Media contact: Katie Vloet
EPA honors UMHS for leadership in environmental asthma management
UMHS accepts the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management
Meet the expert:
ANN ARBOR, Mich – The University of Michigan Health System is one of three winners of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management for its efforts to provide high-quality asthma care. EPA presented the award to UMHS at the third annual Communities in Action for Asthma-Friendly EnvironmentsNational Asthma Forum in Washington, D.C., on May 1.
“The University of Michigan Health System’s effort to reduce the burden of asthma in their community is a breath of fresh air,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Asthma sufferers in Michigan will breathe easier thanks to their innovative program."
The National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management annually recognizes outstanding comprehensive asthma management programs for innovative and effective strategies that lead to improved patient health and quality of life. The winners are selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants and represent the standard of excellence in asthma care.
More than 350,000 people in the Washtenaw, Livingston, Oakland and Wayne counties suffer from asthma, including 90,000 children. Asthma is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and school absenteeism for children. Although there is no known cure, there are ways to reduce the number of asthma attacks, such as avoiding exposure to environmental asthma triggers.
The winners of the awarddemonstrate that evidence-based asthma care that includes a strong environmental component can dramatically improve health outcomes for people with asthma.
The UMHS program has been led by the Asthma Quality Improvement Steering Committee since 2005. The steering committee includes primary care physicians, allergists, pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and nurses, and is co-chaired by Georgiana Sanders, M.D., M.S., and Karla Grossman, BSN, RN, MSA, AE-C.
The Health System’s approach to asthma management includes the use of standardized educational materials for providers and patients, including clinical care guidelines, asthma action plans and education templates. A comprehensive database of asthma patients helps UMHS identify areas for targeted treatment interventions and assess their impact on the patients' health. UMHS also has several specialized programs for high-risk asthma patients, including the Children’s Asthma Wellness Program and the Michigan Visiting Nurses’ Asthma Home Environmental Assessment Program, which includes visits to the patients’ home.
The Children’s Asthma Wellness Program is one of four pediatric asthma disease management programs in the nation that are certified by the Joint Commission. Among the patients enrolled in this program for at least six months, 94% did not have asthma-related emergency department visits and 84% did not require hospitalization. Likewise, participants in the home assessment program had a 60 percent decline in emergency department visits and an 85 percent decrease in hospitalizations between June 2006 and June 2007.
“We are honored to have been selected for this award,” says Steven J. Bernstein, M.D., MPH, professor of internal medicine and director of the Outcomes Management Program at UMHS. “It reflects the hard work put in by many health care providers throughout the UMHS, our patients who worked with us to make this program better, and visionary health plans, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which supported development of this and similar programs for all our patients.”
For more information about the UMHS and its commitment to quality patient care, visit www.med.umich.edu/quality. For more information about EPA’s Asthma Program, visit www.epa.gov/asthma/programs.html.
Written by: Katie Vloet