The Nicholson Foundation and NJ Department of Health Launch Asthma In-Home Intervention Pilot Project

The Nicholson Foundation and the New Jersey Department of Health announced the launch of the New Jersey Asthma In-Home Intervention Pilot Project – a new evidence-based intervention serving children ages 2-17 enrolled in NJFamilyCare. The goals of the project are to improve asthma outcomes while reducing overall healthcare costs, and to demonstrate the sustainability of this model so that it can be widely adopted.

Healthcare providers participating in the pilot project include the Health Coalition of Passaic County, Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune City, and a partnership made up of the Departments of Pediatrics at University Hospital and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and Rutgers University School of Nursing.

An estimated 173,858 of New Jersey’s children have asthma, and in 2015, asthma resulted in 1,516 hospitalizations among New Jersey children younger than age 5. Asthma is a manageable chronic disease, with attacks most commonly triggered by environmental factors such as dust, mold, and roaches.

The New Jersey Asthma In-Home Intervention Pilot Project will integrate clinical asthma care and education programs within the participating healthcare provider organizations by employing community health workers (CHWs) to help families control environmental factors that trigger asthma. CHWs are frontline public health workers, often from the communities they serve, who are trained to deliver preventive care. Over the 2-year grant period, the CHWs will conduct home visits to approximately 480 patients identified by participating providers as high-cost pediatric asthma patients enrolled in NJ FamilyCare. The in-home interventions will include environmental assessments, education, and guidance on reducing asthma triggers that may cause asthma exacerbations and contribute to avoidable hospitalizations.

Teams from the Health Coalition of Passaic County, Henry J. Austin Health Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, and Rutgers join The Nicholson Foundation, NJDOH and HRiA to launch the New Jersey In-Home Asthma Intervention Pilot Project.

Technical assistance and training for the participating organizations will be provided by Health Resources in Action (HRiA), a non-profit public health institute located in Boston that has led previous evidence-based, in-home asthma intervention projects throughout New England. The New Jersey Department of Health and The Nicholson Foundation also are funding an evaluation of the pilot project, to be conducted at its conclusion by HRiA and Rutgers Center for State Health Policy. The evaluation will look at post-intervention changes in pediatric patients’ asthma control and evaluate the cost effectiveness of the intervention in order to determine its long-term sustainability.

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