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Asthma Health Outcomes Project

Overviews of Surveyed Asthma ProgramsSeptember 2005

Domestic Programs: California (cont'd) Back to Index

Breathmobile: A Southern California Pediatric Asthma Disease Management Program

Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

Los Angeles, CA

Francene Lifson

(323) 937-7859         


In 1995 the Southern California Chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America initiated the Breathmobile®: A Southern California Pediatric Asthma Disease Management Program through a formal collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and the Los Angeles Unified School District. This collaboration led to a sustainable healthcare delivery program for low socioeconomic inner city children with asthma designed to overcome the complex social, economic, and care quality barriers associated with poorly controlled disease in this setting.

Children and their parents/caregivers are recruited to the program through physician referrals, school fliers to parents, and school nurses who have identified those children with uncontrolled asthma. The Breathmobile® goes to schools and comprehensive health centers (currently, there are five Breathmobiles® serving more than 100 schools and three Comprehensive Health Centers in Southern California). The Breathmobile® is a specially equipped mobile asthma clinic staffed with an allergist, registered nurse, respiratory therapist, and a patient service worker. The child enters the Breathmobile® and registers with the patient service worker. The child then is assessed by the registered nurse and respiratory therapist and receives interactive education. Finally, the child is examined by the physician and further educated. The child often receives a skin allergy test at the first follow-up visit. The amount of follow-up visits varies on severity and need.

The program has had a positive impact on the following health outcomes: hospitalization rates, emergency department visits, urgent care visits, unscheduled (sick) and scheduled (well) office visits, school absences, work loss, quality of life for children and quality of life for parents/caregivers, symptoms, medication use, change in clinical action (provider behavior), functional status, lung function, and self-management skills.

The concept of the Breathmobile® has spread across the country. There are now Breathmobiles® in Phoenix, Chicago, Baltimore and one soon to become operational in Mobile, Alabama.

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