The Solution

There are so many diseases that we cannot control, but asthma is a controllable disease. We can drastically reduce medical costs, absenteeism from school and work, morbidity and mortality by teaching patients how to control their asthma. Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism. Concern has been expressed by many school districts about school absenteeism due to asthma.

Doctor examining an child.A typical example is Judy, an 8 year old student at Prescott Elementary School in West Oakland who often finds herself out of medications. Her grandmother, her caregiver, many times does not money to get to an outpatient clinic across town. A mobile clinic coming into the area for frequent visits would support Judy and her grandmother to help better manage Judy’s disease.

One solution is the Breathmobile®. The Breathmobile® has been operating in Southern California for years in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernadino and Riverside counties, governed by a partnership with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, University of Southern California (USC), some medical centers, and County School Districts. These mobile asthma clinics can visit 22–23 school sites per month, seeing children with asthma. Pre-schoolers are also seen. All children must be accompanied by their parents. Children will be referred to a nutritionist for obesity problems and home inspections will be arranged to look for asthma triggers and arrangements will be made for remedial work to reduce triggers when help is available. Education about triggers and use of proper cleaning products will be done. Regular provider visits by asthma specialists, testing, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as medication for families without a healthcare plan, is provided at no charge, only MediCal is billed.

There are other units operating in Chicago, Baltimore, University of Alabama, and Phoenix, Arizona. All of these units form a national collaborative organization linked by a computer system located at USC to study and improve the effective treatment and management of asthma.

Collaborative studies of Breathmobile® units in Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Orange counties in Southern California show a dramatic 73% reduction in Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations of asthma children being served by their Breathmobiles®.

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