Utah Department of Health Asthma Program (Region 8)
The Utah Department of Health Asthma Program (UAP) seeks to expand the reach, quality, effectiveness and sustainability of comprehensive asthma control services throughout Utah, with a focus on disproportionately affected populations. Specifically, high-need populations that are targeted include children ages 0–17, those living in rural areas, those living in urban areas with low socioeconomic status, and racial/ethnic minorities. The UAP is distinguished by its strong partnerships with health care systems and local health departments, as well as its innovative projects, such as the Utah Asthma Home Visiting Program (UAHVP). The UAHVP is an in-home asthma self-management education program that has been shown to reduce severe asthma outcomes. High-risk asthma patients are identified and referred through partnerships with health care systems and community-based organizations. The UAHVP takes a holistic approach to health and has established a screening protocol to address needs related to the social determinants of health. Referral mechanisms have been established with community services to help address the client’s social, mental, physical and emotional needs. In addition, home assessment and trigger-reduction education is provided, with referrals made as needed to more extensive home remediation services through a county's local housing authority and/or community-based organizations. More than 350 households have completed the program, reporting a 75 percent reduction in asthma-related emergency department visits and an 87 percent reduction in asthma-related hospitalizations. Data from the UAHVP demonstrated an initial return on investment, with $2.69 saved in reduced asthma-related emergency department and hospital visits for every $1 spent. This helped the UAP procure Medicaid funding to expand the UAHVP to Medicaid members in rural fee-for-service areas.