Teaming Up for Asthma Control: EPR-3 Compliant School Program in Missouri Is Effective and Cost-Efficient
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Teaming Up for Asthma Control: EPR-3 Compliant School Program in Missouri Is Effective and Cost-Efficient

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    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Introduction Teaming Up for Asthma Control (TUAC) is a work force development intervention to improve asthma control among children by increasing the competency of school nurses and delivering guideline-based education. We hypothesized that the knowledge and skills of participating school nurses would improve and that this change would positively affect students’ asthma health and reduce health care utilization cost. Methods Asthma education for school nurses was provided online in a pretest/posttest format or in instructor-led groups. Students with persistent asthma were identified by using a checklist. Expert evaluators obtained student participants’ preassessments/postassessments before and after the 3 asthma checkups by the school nurse, and the assessments were compared. Health care costs were assessed using Medicaid administrative claims data. Results A total of 54 school nurses and 178 students in Missouri participated in the TUAC evaluation from 2011 through 2014. Among school nurses who completed the online education (n = 42, 77.8%), knowledge scores significantly increased from pretest (49.1%) to posttest (90.7%, P < .001). Of school nurses who completed assessments on 3 children (n = 34), 91.2% met the ±6% equivalence for 1 or more assessments on forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) compared with the expert evaluator. At enrollment, 69.7% of students had “not well-controlled” or “very poorly controlled” asthma. Postintervention, FEV1 significantly improved (82.9% to 92.1% predicted), and self-reported impairment and tobacco smoke exposure significantly declined (P < .001). For TUAC students enrolled in Medicaid, there was an average 12-month health care cost difference (−$1,431) compared with controls. Conclusion School nurses effectively assessed asthma status, students’ outcomes improved, and health care utilization costs declined. This evaluation contributed to program improvements to further improve health outcomes among students with asthma.
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