A $15 million victory for people with asthma!

In a big win for Californians with poorly controlled asthma, the recently adopted state budget allocates $15 million to support asthma prevention and environmental remediation services. The one-time funding will support local health departments, medical providers and community-based organizations to offer asthma education and environmental trigger mitigation.

The appropriation is the first of its kind in California, and represents a significant “down payment” toward increasing patient access to asthma home visiting services, which improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs by preventing more expensive ER visits and hospitalizations.

The budget victory was led by Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP), a project of PHI, in collaboration with the California Pan Ethnic Health Network, Children Now, legislative champion Senator Melissa Hurtado, and a wide range of partners in the field.

Even with this win in place, there’s more to do. Short-term, RAMP and our partners will work with the California Department of Health Care Services to help shape the implementation of the funding. Additionally, RAMP will continue to push for inclusion of asthma home visiting services as a covered benefit within Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. In fact, RAMP continues to co-sponsor SB 207, which would do just that.

SB 207 has garnered a long list of supporters. If you’d like to add your voice to the process, here’s how you can help:

  • To sign on to this group letter on behalf of your organization, please email your organization’s name and logo to RAMP’s Associate Director, Joel Ervice, at joel@rampasthma.org.
  • To support the policies as an individual, please email joel@rampasthma.org directly so he can assist you.

The bill’s two other cosponsors had this to say:

“California’s low-income and communities of color are more likely to have asthma and to be hospitalized or to visit the emergency room for preventable asthma related conditions. SB 207 provides families with the tools they need in a language they understand to manage their conditions so they can work and stay healthy. It will reduce health care costs and result in healthier communities.”

– Sarah de Guia, Executive Director, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN)

“Asthma is the most common chronic disease afflicting kids, affecting roughly 1.2 million of California’s children. It is a leading factor for children missing school, and when it’s not managed effectively, kids can end up in the emergency room, which takes a toll on children and their families, and is costly for the state. Almost in fact, nearly 90 percent of all pediatric asthma emergency department visits are by children in Medi-Cal.  This legislation makes strong investments in preventive care and asthma education for kids in Medi-Cal so kids can have better outcomes and more efficient care.”

– Ted Lempert, President, Children Now

We’re so excited to be taking on this issue in collaboration with Senator Hurtado and many advocates in California.

For any questions, please contact RAMP’s Associate Director, Joel Ervice, at joel@rampasthma.org.