WellCare Joins Collaboration To Improve Childhood Asthma Management In Kentucky
TAMPA, Fla. (March 13, 2013) — WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) today announced its participation in a collaborative asthma study between Eastern Kentucky Public Health, Inc. (EKPHI), Ideomed and WellCare of Kentucky. The study, which began in January and runs through December 2013, includes participants in Boyd, Floyd, Greenup, Lawrence and Pike counties.
Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children and youth in the United States and the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among those younger than 15 years of age. Kentucky has the highest rate of lung disease in the U.S., including childhood asthma, with the highest rates in eastern Kentucky.
WellCare is partnering with EKPHI, an organization of eight local health departments in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, to conduct a pediatric asthma study. The pilot program utilizes Ideomed’s new Abriiz asthma management technology along with an educational component to help children enrolled in WellCare’s Asthma Disease Management Program. The asthma pilot will establish initial HEDIS asthma measures of medication compliance with the goal of increasing medication compliance and reducing asthma-related emergency room visits.
“We welcome the opportunity to partner with WellCare to meet the needs of our students and their families. For students to be at their academic best, they need to remain healthy,” said Geri Willis, Board President of EKPHI. “The WellCare and Abriiz program will offer services and incentives for participating students with the potential of helping them remain more in control of their asthma triggers and symptoms, while lessening the likelihood of associated hospitalizations and absences from school.”
“WellCare strives to improve the quality of our members’ live through preventative care and planning for chronic conditions,” said Mike Minor, President of WellCare of Kentucky. “We are excited to be part of this effort to reduce the effects of childhood asthma in eastern Kentucky.”
The asthma pilot will be administered through a school health program designed to coordinate family, school and community efforts to better manage asthma symptoms, while reducing school absences and ER visits. The Abriiz asthma management technology provides a web-based system for the caregiver and/or school nurse and a mobile app for the student. The system tracks daily medication use, rescue medication use, asthma triggers prior to escalation and ER visits. WellCare is also providing claims- based data.
Participating students received an iPod Touch for use through the duration of the program. They meet weekly with a school nurse or community health worker to receive the education portion of the program and to ensure their medication usage is on track. Representatives from Ideomed provided training to the school nurses, participating students and their parents.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
WellCare Health Plans, Inc. provides managed care services targeted to government-sponsored health care programs, focusing on Medicaid and Medicare. Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare offers a variety of health plans for families, children, and the aged, blind, and disabled, as well as prescription drug plans. The company serves approximately 2.7 million members nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2012. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company’s website at wellcare.com.