BLUE SHIELD: Program Reduces Emergency Room Visits
A new preventive asthma management program by Blue Shield of California has reduced members' emergency room visits by 68%. The 146 members who have completed a full year of the program also reported 40 fewer hospital admissions, reduced length of stay in the hospital, 54% fewer nights of disturbed sleep and 67 fewer missed days from school and work. Blue Cross data shows that over 10,000 of its members have asthma, about 2,000 of whom have entered into the program. Patients are divided into two groups upon entry into the program and all are given kits containing educational material. Depending on the severity of their condition, members of one group are taught the skills needed to manage the condition on their own, while members of the other group are permanently case managed by a registered nurse. Kathleen Valentine, director of population health for Blue Shield, said "We're very encouraged by the results of the first year. As more members become aware of what self-management can accomplish, we expect participation in the program to grow" (Blue Shield release, 9/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.