Healthy Homes Case Studies Show How to Treat Asthma, Lead Issues

By McGill, Natalie | The Nation's Health, February 2016 | Go to article overview

Healthy Homes Case Studies Show How to Treat Asthma, Lead Issues


McGill, Natalie, The Nation's Health


STATE HEALTH LEADERS looking for ways to fund healthy home improvements now have real-world examples of how to get it done, thanks to the work of public health and housing advocates.

The National Center for Healthy Housing and George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health in October released four case studies from California, Delaware, Ohio and Rhode Island. The case studies highlight how health agencies, providers and others in those states sought Medicaid coverage for home-based services addressing lead exposure and improving asthma control.

Housing and public health are closely linked. More than 6 million housing units in the U.S. are connected to issues such as childhood lead poisoning, which can lead to developmental delays in children, and asthma triggers such as mold or vermin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

APHA has played a supporting role, subcontracting with the National Center for Healthy Housing to conduct a national survey to identify states where health care financing for lead follow-up or home-based asthma services was already in place or pending. APHA then worked with the center to develop the case studies.

"I think people are still trying to figure out what they can do and how they charge services," said Kate Robb, MSPH, a policy analyst for APHA's Center for Public Health Policy. "Do they charge as administrative costs? Do they need a nurse specifically to do these interventions or community health workers? There's hesitancy in trying to figure out what people can do. That's one of the great things about the case studies. They're highlighting how states are doing it and how you can learn from them."

Each case study features that state's current health care landscape, important funding mechanisms, key barriers, next steps and lessons learned.

In Rhode Island, for example, Medicaid reimburses lead follow-up services provided by four state health department-certified lead centers. Those centers provide services to families of children with elevated blood lead levels, such as lead education and nutritional counseling.

According to the report, approximately half of the state's children with high blood lead levels are Medicaid enrollees and nearly 40 percent of the state's children are enrolled in Medicaid. …

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