Stories about: health care costs

Home visits for asthma: a win for both patients and payers

Marquis and his mother (middle) received educational home visits from Children’s nurse manager Massiel Ortiz

The journal Pediatrics released a study from Children’s Hospital Boston that shows a preventative approach to treating asthma can keep kids out of the Emergency Department (ED) and save money on health care spending.

The study is based on data collected by Children’s Community Asthma Initiative (CAI), which has been working closely with low-income residents of Boston with asthma since 2005. By sending nurse practitioners and community health workers into the homes of families whose children are frequently hospitalized for asthma, Children’s staff was able to identify asthma triggers in the families’ homes and offer education on avoiding them.

For example, a mother who cleans every inch or her home but then places the broom and duster back in the closet could still be exposing her child to asthma inducing mites. Trained CAI staffers, many of whom have asthma themselves, teach participants the proper way to clean a house to fully remove dust and other potential asthma triggers like pest droppings and mold. The program also provides special coverings for bedding and vacuum cleaners with specific, asthma fighting filters, free of charge.

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Heads of Children's, Dana-Farber co-write Globe editorial on cost

James Mandell, MD, CEO of Children's
Ed Benz, MD, president of DFCI

It’s crucial that we cut health care costs.

It’s not just about the economy, although rising health care costs are wreaking havoc on budgets from the city level to the federal government. It’s also about access: if health care gets too expensive, many people simply cannot afford it.

In an effort to tackle this problem, many insurers are using “tiers.” In this system, hospitals and health care providers are placed into tiers based on cost. If employers or consumers use hospitals and doctors in the higher-cost tiers, they have to pay more to do so.

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Speak up for pediatric specialty care and training–we need your help!

Claire McCarthy, MD

Living in Boston, we take it for granted that if something happens to one of our children, we can find just the right doctor to take care of them. We can find someone with expertise, someone who will know the latest treatments, who will know exactly what to do.

Here in Boston, we have lots of pediatric specialists. These are doctors who have trained in pediatrics, so fully understand all the ways that children are different from adults, and have additional training in a particular area of medicine, like heart defects or hormone problems or cancer. Here in Boston, children can get the health care they need.

That’s not the case in other parts of the country. According to an article in this month’s Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine by Dr. Dennis Rosen of Children’s Hospital Boston, there is a national shortage of pediatric subspecialists. In Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, for example, there are no pediatric pulmonologists. These doctors treat lung problems, like cystic fibrosis or asthma; they can make a tremendous difference in improving the lives of children with these diseases.

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