Taking on Asthma in New Mexico

Taking on Asthma in New Mexico

Taking on Asthma in New Mexico

More than 6 million American children have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New Mexico, more than 38,000 children leaving site icon have asthma. It is the most common childhood illness across the country.

Asthma can’t be cured, but it can be controlled. When it isn’t controlled, it can lead to very scary asthma attacks. Those attacks can cause children to miss school or worse. Many times, a child having an asthma attack will end up in the ER or the hospital. Some children die.

At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, we wanted to know how we could help. We started by looking at our claims data. That helped us figure out where in New Mexico children were most likely to have asthma attacks that were bad enough to send them to the ER or the hospital. Then we partnered with the American Lung Association of New Mexico to target those areas. We taught health care workers how to help children and their parents better control their asthma.

 NM asthma clinicThe program is called “Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma.” We’ve been working on this since 2012. Our efforts are paying off. Early results from the 12 clinics in New Mexico are truly impressive. After just the first two years, the number of hospital stays and the number of ER visits are both down by 80 percent!

But we’re not stopping here. We plan to do even more over the next years. We will work with the American Lung Association of New Mexico to train workers at 10 more New Mexico clinics. And we will work harder to help kids whose asthma still isn’t controlled despite the added help. We will send experts into their homes to look for other causes that might be triggering their asthma attacks.

Learn more about Asthma.

Originally published 6/9/2016; Revised 2019