The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provides multiple opportunities to improve outcomes for the millions of children living with asthma. The Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. (MCAN), The George Washington University School of Public and Health Services (GWU) and the RCHN Community Health Foundation will publish a series of briefs that will spotlight key provisions in the law and what they mean for childhood asthma. These papers will provide an insider’s view to the implementation process as it relates to childhood asthma.

Now Available: Brief on Medical Homes & Childhood Asthma
In advance of the final rule regarding the implementation of medical homes within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), researchers at The George Washington University (GWU), Department of Health Policy have identified major opportunities to advance high-quality, cost-efficient health care for children with asthma through medical homes. A new brief, “The Affordable Care Act, Medical Homes and Childhood Asthma: A Key Opportunity for Progress,” focuses on how the medical home model facilitates comprehensive, patient-centered care by fostering partnerships between and amongst patients, primary care doctors including pediatricians, specialists and emergency and other services. Evidence has been mounting that this model provides a unique opportunity to dramatically improve patient care, especially for special populations, like children with complex, chronic diseases who may need support in managing their condition. PPACA, for the first time, establishes the patient centered medical home as a matter of policy and promotes reforms to support the creation of medical homes for patients with chronic illnesses, including asthma.

This new brief reviews the key PPACA provisions that advance the medical home concept in public and private health insurance and recommends ways the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can fully utilize the medical home to advance high quality treatment and effective asthma management.

The report highlights the potential role of community health centers (CHCs), one of the providers PPACA designates as a health home, in treating children with asthma. Community health centers play a significant role in pediatric asthma care today and will be expanded through direct investment under the Affordable Care Act. A previous report from GWU concluded that CHCs could be the front door to better disease management for children with asthma as they are located in medically-underserved and low income communities with high rates of asthma. .CHCs are intimately familiar with managing medically complex health issues and are well prepared to provide comprehensive chronic disease management. They are also well-equipped to implement clinical quality initiatives and use health information technology to manage care and evaluate their performance.

Download the brief today to learn more about:
• The opportunities provided by PPACA to improve childhood asthma outcomes in the context of the medical home;
• Recommendations for HHS as they implement the law; and
• Key considerations for creating high-quality medical homes for all children with asthma