Illinois Passes New ‘Stock Asthma Rescue Medication’ Legislation Making Schools Safer for Children with Asthma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2018

CONTACT:
Erica Krutsch
Director, Marketing and Communications
Respiratory Health Association
Desk: (312) 628-0225
Cell: (734) 262-4527

Illinois Passes New ‘Stock Asthma Rescue Medication’ Legislation Making Schools Safer for Children with Asthma

CHICAGO – Illinois schools are one step closer to creating a safer environment for students living with asthma. Stock Asthma Rescue Medication in Schools (SB 3015) passed the Illinois House on Friday, May 25. The legislation passed the Senate unanimously in April.

Since 2001, Illinois students have been allowed to carry asthma medications in school. SB 3015 addresses asthma emergencies that occur when a family is unable to afford a child’s rescue medication, when those medications are left at home, when they run out or are simply unattainable.

Stock Asthma Rescue Medication in Schools (SB 3015) improves access to life-saving medication by allowing schools to stock ‘undesignated’ asthma rescue medication and allowing school nurses and trained school staff to administer the medication at the first signs of respiratory distress. This legislation builds on a 2014 Illinois law allowing schools to stock undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors to protect those who may experience a severe allergy in school.

Across Illinois, more than 330,000 children have reported asthma; however, fewer than twenty-five percent of those children have their asthma under proper control. That means three out of four kids living with asthma are likely to experience symptoms of respiratory distress, leading to increased emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Children from minority and low-income households are even more likely to face barriers in access to medication and other asthma management resources, which in turn can lead to poorly controlled asthma and emergency department visits. Indeed, emergency department visits for asthma in Illinois occur among African American children at nearly six times the rate of visits by White children.

“The current rules allowing students to self-carry and self-administer asthma medications are good first steps,” said Joel Africk, President and CEO of Respiratory Health Association. “The new legislation, which allows schools to stock asthma rescue medication, builds on existing school policies to create a safer environment for all.”

“Asthma attacks can occur without warning and because of this, children with asthma should always have access to asthma rescue medication (Albuterol). Asthma rescue medication administration in a school setting allows kids to remain in the classroom and avoids costly emergency room visits. Without this medication, the attack often worsens and can become life-threatening,” said Craig E. Batterman, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Southern Illinois University Medicine.

Asthma causes an estimated 300,000 missed schools days per year in Illinois, which in turn lead to days of work missed by adult caregivers. Asthma medical costs in Illinois are projected to reach $1.9 billion by 2020.

“Illinois has made great strides in helping children with asthma attend school without the fear that their schools will be unprepared for an inevitable asthma attack,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “SB 3015 will help children even more by allowing backup inhalers to be kept at the school, similar to EpiPens.”

Ten other states have adopted similar policies, including Indiana and Missouri. Early results indicate that these policies reduce the need for 911 calls and EMS transports as a result of asthma attacks. Initial data also demonstrate that these policies reach populations of need and improve health outcomes.

“Thankfully, administering albuterol has minimal side effects.  By comparison, the consequences of not treating or delaying treatment of a child experiencing respiratory distress can be dangerous. SB 3015 will give schools the ability to quickly respond to asthma emergencies and work with students and families to ensure ongoing proper asthma management at school,” said Amy Zimmerman, a Program Director at Legal Council for Health Justice.

Respiratory Health Association and Legal Council for Health Justice worked together to propose a stock asthma rescue medication policy in Illinois. They recently published an issue brief assessing the fit and feasibility of stock asthma rescue medication in Illinois schools, which is available for download on Respiratory Health Association’s website lungchicago.org.

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Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in Illinois since 1906. The organization remains committed to advancing innovative and meaningful policies and programs to improve the lives of those living with asthma.  We have been one of the state’s leading advocates for asthma prevention and management policies and provide asthma management programs for underserved communities. For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.

Legal Council for Health Justice conducts education, outreach, and advocacy to address discrimination, disadvantage, and disparities in health, wealth, and well-being across the lifespan of vulnerable populations. Through our award winning medical-legal partnerships we target people impacted by chronic, disabling and stigmatizing health and social conditions to empower them to lead fulfilling lives, reach their self-determined goals, and secure and plan their futures. For more information visit www.legalcouncil.org.

First Air Pollution Action Day of 2018 Called

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2018

CONTACT:
Michele Reyes
Coordinator, Marketing and Communications
Respiratory Health Association
Desk: (312) 628-0226

 

First Air Pollution Action Day of 2018 Called

CHICAGO – Respiratory Health Association is alerting the public that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued an Air Pollution Action Day alert to individuals in the Chicago Metropolitan area for Saturday. As a result of the high temperatures and low wind speeds, air pollution levels, specifically ground-level ozone, are expected to reach the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category. This is the first Action Day issued for 2018. Due to weather conditions, ozone smog levels may remain high for several days over the holiday weekend.

An Air Pollution Action Day is declared when weather conditions are such that widespread ozone or fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels are expected to be at or above the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category on the U.S. EPA’s Air Quality Index for multiple days. Saturday, May 26th is expected to meet these criteria, therefore, an Air Pollution Action Day is being declared. At increased levels, ground-level ozone poses a potential health hazard to sensitive populations, especially individuals with respiratory or pulmonary conditions as well as active children and adults. Those individuals should take special precautions and follow their physician prescribed regimen. Residents should keep cool and limit physical activity when air pollution levels are high.

Employers and residents of the Chicago metropolitan area are asked to follow “Green Actions” (as described below) to reduce contributions to air pollution. These groups are also encouraged to share air quality forecasts and Action Day alerts with colleagues, friends and family to help protect their health.

  • Take public transit, Rideshare, walk or bike.
  • If driving, avoid idling, consolidate errands and run them after 7 p.m. when sunlight is not as strong.
  • Avoid using gasoline-powered equipment on Air Pollution Action Days.
  • Switch to energy efficient light bulbs.
  • Set your thermostat up 2 degrees.
  • Turn off and unplug electronics not in use.
  • Use environmentally-friendly household and cleaning products.
  • Use a charcoal chimney or gas grill instead of lighter fluid when grilling.
  • Do not burn leaves and other yard waste.
  • Sign-up to receive air quality forecasts via email at enviroflash.info!

Up-to-date information on daily air quality for the Chicagoland area can be found at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s www.airnow.gov webpage.

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Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in metropolitan Chicago since 1906. Today, the association addresses asthma, COPD, lung cancer, tobacco control and air quality with a comprehensive approach involving research, education and advocacy activities. For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.

Latest Study Shows Persisting Racial Disparities among Chicago Children with Asthma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2018

CONTACT:
Erica Krutsch
Director, Marketing and Communications
Respiratory Health Association
Desk: (312) 628-0225
Cell: (734) 262-4527

Latest Study Shows Persisting Racial Disparities among Chicago Children with Asthma

Emergency Department visit rates for African Americans 75% greater than citywide average

CHICAGO – For over a decade, researchers, clinicians and community-based organizations have recognized and worked to address racial disparities in asthma. Chicago has also been identified as an epicenter for asthma, with higher prevalence in minority communities on the city’s west and south sides.

On World Asthma Day, Respiratory Health Association released a new report showing little progress in addressing racial disparities among Chicago children with asthma. The report focuses on rates of asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits from 2009-2015.

Key Findings Include:

  • African American children accounted for over 63 percent of all asthma-related emergency department visits recorded in 2015.
  • The rate of visits by African Americans remained 75 percent greater than the citywide rate.
  • Asthma-related pediatric ED visits translated to an estimated $18.7 million in health care charges. According to Medical Expenditure Panel data, the average charge for an asthma-related ED visit in Chicago was $2,116. Application of that figure to the 8,848 asthma-related pediatric ED visits in Chicago in 2015 suggests health care charges of more than $18.7 million.
  • Racial disparities led to $6.1 million in preventable health care charges. Had the 2015 rates of ED visits among African American and Latino children been equal to the rate of visits by White children, asthma-related ED charges could have been reduced by nearly $6.1 million.

Download the full report.

“It is clear we need to do more to understand and address the disparities in asthma,” said Joel Africk, President and Chief Executive Officer, Respiratory Health Association. “Poorly managed asthma leads to missed school days, reduced health outcomes and overall lost opportunities. No child should fall behind because of a manageable condition like asthma.”

Asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism, causing an estimated 300,000 missed schools days per year in Illinois, which in turn lead to days of work missed by adult caregivers.

In addition to lost educational opportunity and productivity, asthma represents a large financial burden for Chicago. When treated properly, asthma can most often be managed in a primary care, outpatient setting. Since a primary care visit is estimated to cost five times less than an ED visit, improvements in education, care and treatment can significantly reduce the economic burden of asthma.

Respiratory Health Association is calling for more research into trends in asthma; better data tracking of asthma prevalence and demographics; broadened support of community-based asthma programming to promote asthma management; and additional collaboration between research, practice and policy partners as initial steps to close the gap in racial disparities among children with asthma.

“Reducing racial disparities in asthma is one of the top priorities identified in the city’s Healthy Chicago 2.0 agenda. The City of Chicago has made tremendous progress in advancing policy changes that impact asthma outcomes like dramatically reducing youth smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke and protecting the environment through innovative sustainability initiatives,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner, Julie Morita, MD.

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Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in Illinois since 1906. A policy leader, our organization remains committed to advancing innovative and meaningful policies and programs to improve the lives of those living with asthma.  We have been one of the state’s leading advocates for asthma prevention and management policies and provide asthma management programs for underserved communities. For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.

Media Alert: News Conference on Racial Disparities among Children with Asthma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2018

CONTACT:
Erica Krutsch
Director, Marketing and Communications
Respiratory Health Association
Desk: (312) 628-0225
Cell: (734) 262-4527

Latest Study Shows Persisting Racial Disparities Among Chicago Children with Asthma

News conference with Julie Morita, MD, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner 

WHO:       President & CEO of Respiratory Health Association Joel Africk, Dr. Julie Morita, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Ken Fox, Chief Health Officer for Chicago Public Schools and Dr. Ruchi Gupta, pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, will discuss new data on racial disparities in pediatric asthma.

WHAT:     Data analysis by Respiratory Health Association shows little progress in addressing racial disparities among Chicago children with asthma. The report focuses on rates of asthma-related emergency department visits from 2009-2015.

                 African American children accounted for over 63% of all asthma-related emergency department visits recorded in 2015. The rate of visits by that group remained 75% greater than the citywide rate. In addition, racial disparities in childhood asthma contribute to over $6 million in avoidable health care charges each year in Chicago.

WHEN:     World Asthma Day – May 1, 2018 at 10:00 AM

                  Speakers will be available for interview beginning at 10:20 AM

WHERE:   Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

                 225 E Chicago Ave, 11th floor conference center

WHY:        Chicago has been identified as an epicenter for asthma, with higher prevalence in minority communities on the city’s west and south sides.

                 Following the news conference, leaders in asthma research and policy will convene for a short summit to discuss next steps and recommendations for increasing health equity among Chicagoans with asthma.

About Respiratory Health Association

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) has been a local public health leader in Chicago since 1906. Our mission is to prevent lung disease, promote clean air and help people live better through education, research and policy change. RHA’s asthma education programs teach 2,000 Chicago students asthma management techniques each year.  For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.

State Lung Health Education Day Brings Constituents to Springfield to Fight Lung Disease – Wednesday, April 18, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2018

CONTACT:
Erica Krutsch
Director, Marketing and Communications
Respiratory Health Association
Desk: (312) 628-0225
Cell: (734) 262-4527

State Lung Health Education Day Brings Constituents to Springfield to Fight Lung Disease – Wednesday, April 18, 2018

WHAT:     Respiratory Health Association’s State Lung Health Education Day is an annual advocacy event. More than 30 constituents from across the state travel to Springfield, IL to meet with elected officials and advocate for policies that address lung disease and clean air.

This year, RHA’s top policy priorities include:

  • Raising the purchase age of tobacco to 21
  • Permitting schools to stock emergency asthma medication
  • Raising awareness of COPD, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis and asthma
  • Promoting clean renewable energy 

WHEN:     Wednesday, April 18, 2018   9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

WHERE:   Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, IL

SCHEDULE FOR PHOTO/VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES:

  • 5:30 am – 6:00 am – Bus loading at RHA offices in Chicago
  • 9:30 am Arrival in Springfield, IL
  • 9:30 am – 1:00 pm legislative visits

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES – REQUESTED IN ADVANCE IF POSSIBLE

  • Lung disease patients and family members participating in State Lung Health Education Day.
  • Joel Africk, President and CEO of Respiratory Health Association.
  • Matt Maloney, Director, Health Policy, Respiratory Health Association.
  • Senator Dave Koehler, sponsor of asthma legislation
  • Senator Julie Morrison/Rep. Camille Lilly Sponsors of Tobacco 21

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Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader since 1906. Today, the association works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.

‘Stock Asthma Rescue Medication’ Legislation Aims to Protect Students with Asthma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2018

CONTACT:
Erica Krutsch
Director, Marketing and Communications
Respiratory Health Association
Desk: (312) 628-0225
Cell: (734) 262-4527

‘Stock Asthma Rescue Medication’ Legislation Aims to Protect Students with Asthma

CHICAGO – Illinois schools are one step closer to creating a safer environment for students living with asthma. Stock Asthma Rescue Medication in Schools (SB 3015) passed the Illinois Senate unanimously on Wednesday, April 25. A House vote is expected soon.

Since 2001, Illinois students have been allowed to carry asthma medications in school, but what happens if those medications are left at home, run out or are simply unattainable?

Across Illinois more than 330,000 children have reported asthma; however, fewer than twenty-five percent of those children have their asthma under proper control. That means three out of four kids living with asthma are likely to experience symptoms of respiratory distress, leading to increased emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Children from minority and low-income households are even more likely to face barriers in access to medication and other asthma management resources that can lead to poorly controlled asthma and emergency department visits. Indeed, emergency department visits for asthma in Illinois occur among African American children at nearly six times the rate of visits by White children.

“While current rules allowing students to self-carry and self-administer asthma medications are good first steps, those policies don’t help if a student faces barriers to obtaining medications or simply forgets his or her medication at home,” said Joel Africk, President and CEO of Respiratory Health Association. “Allowing schools to stock asthma rescue medication builds on existing school policies to create a safer environment for all.”

Stock Asthma Rescue Medication in Schools (SB3015) improves access to life-saving medication by allowing schools to stock undesignated asthma rescue medication and allowing school nurses and trained school staff to administer the medication at the first signs of respiratory distress.

“Asthma attacks can occur without warning and because of this, children with asthma should always have access to asthma rescue medication (Albuterol). Asthma rescue medication administration in a school setting allows kids to remain in the classroom and avoids costly emergency room visits. Without this medication, the attack often worsens and can become life-threatening,” said Craig E. Batterman, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Southern Illinois University Medicine.

Asthma causes an estimated 300,000 missed schools days per year in Illinois, which in turn lead to days of work missed by adult caregivers. Asthma medical costs in Illinois are projected to reach $1.9 billion by 2020.

“Illinois has made great strides in helping children with asthma attend school without the fear that their schools will be unprepared for an inevitable asthma attack,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “SB 3015 will help children even more by allowing backup inhalers to be kept at the school, similar to EpiPens.”

Ten other states have adopted similar policies, including Indiana and Missouri. Early results indicate that these policies reduce the need for 911 calls and EMS transports as a result of asthma attacks. Initial data also demonstrate that these policies reach populations of need and improve health outcomes.

“Thankfully, administering albuterol has minimal side effects; however, not treating or delaying treatment of a child experiencing respiratory distress can have dangerous health consequences.  SB 3015 will give schools the ability to quickly respond to asthma emergencies and work with students and families to ensure ongoing proper asthma management at school,” said Amy Zimmerman, a Program Director at Legal Council for Health Justice.

Respiratory Health Association and Legal Council for Health Justice worked together to propose a stock asthma rescue medication policy in Illinois. They recently published an issue brief assessing the fit and feasibility of stock asthma rescue medication in Illinois schools, which is available for download on Respiratory Health Association’s website lungchicago.org.

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Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in Illinois since 1906. A policy leader, our organization remains committed to advancing innovative and meaningful policies and programs to improve the lives of those living with asthma.  We have been one of the state’s leading advocates for asthma prevention and management policies and provide asthma management programs for underserved communities.  For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.

Legal Council for Health Justice conducts education, outreach, and advocacy to address discrimination, disadvantage, and disparities in health, wealth, and well-being across the lifespan of vulnerable populations. Through our award winning medical-legal partnerships we target people impacted by chronic, disabling and stigmatizing health and social conditions to empower them to lead fulfilling lives, reach their self-determined goals, and secure and plan their futures. For more information visit www.legalcouncil.org.

RHA Receives $25,000 CVS Health Community Grant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Erica Krutsch
Director, Marketing and Communications
Respiratory Health Association
Desk: (312) 628-0225

Respiratory Health Association Receives $25,000 CVS Health Community Grant

Grant to Respiratory Health Association is part of CVS Health’s commitment to helping people lead tobacco-free lives

CHICAGO, IL – April 20, 2018 – Respiratory Health Association (RHA) announced today that it has received a $25,000 grant from CVS Health. The grant is part of Be The First, CVS Health’s $50 million, five-year initiative to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation and extend the company’s commitment to help people lead tobacco-free lives.

The support from CVS Health will help RHA extend the reach of Courage to Quit®, the cessation component of the organization’s integrated tobacco intervention program. Courage to Quit® is an evidence-based group or individual tobacco treatment program for adults available in multiple formats with flexible content. The CVS Health grant has allowed RHA to build a strong partnership with Chicago Housing Authority and the FamilyWorks program. With funding from CVS Health, RHA has raised awareness among CHA and FamilyWorks staff about the importance of smoking cessation, particularly for the vulnerable communities with which they work. Cessation programming, through the Courage to Quit® program, is now embedded in the work that FamilyWorks provider agencies do with their clients.

“With generous support of CVS Health, RHA is partnering with the Chicago Housing Authority to bring tobacco cessation services to high-need communities at locations that work for participants. These programs will support CHA residents as the housing authority goes smoke-free,” said Joel Africk, President and Chief Executive Officer, Respiratory Health Association. “This dedicated funding also allows RHA to promote Courage to Quit® to new participants and increase quit success rates by providing nicotine patches to all participants.”

“As a pharmacy innovation company, we are committed to building healthier communities and we believe that providing smoking cessation programs is one of the most effective ways to help people quit smoking and lead tobacco-free lives,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, CVS Health. “We are pleased to support the work that Respiratory Health Association does in the community and we look forward to working with them in fulfilling their program’s mission.”

In 2016, CVS Health announced Be The First, a five-year, $50 million initiative to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation and extend the company’s commitment to helping people lead tobacco-free lives. With support and funding through CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation, Be The First supports comprehensive education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming delivered by a group of national partner organizations. For more information about Be The First and CVS Health’s broader commitment to tobacco-free living, please visit www.cvshealth.com/bethefirst.

Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader since 1906. Today, the association works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. For more information, visit www.lungchicago.org.

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