New Fed Plan Helps Latino Children Breathe Easier


If a plan suggested by several federal agencies is adopted, CT’s Latino children could get better care for their asthma. The plan, spearheaded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would reduce barriers to health care, and enhance the ways such care would be delivered to minority and low-income children.
These children have much higher rates of asthma than their peers.  Eight percent of Latino children suffer from asthma.  Among Puerto Rican children, the rate is 16.5%
Specifically, the plan would increase the understanding of the causes of asthma; identify those child populations most at risk for asthma; ensure that at-risk youth have access to proper medical services; and increase the capacity to deliver integrated, community-based asthma care systems.   The timeline for the plan is for it to be in place no later than 2017.
Asthma is a costly disease.  The EPA estimates that asthma-related medical expenses total more than $50 billion annually.  Those lacking medical insurance are less likely to take the preventive medicine they may need to keep their asthma under control, making them more likely to suffer an attack.
The disease costs in other ways.  In 2008 (the most recent year data are available) the disease accounted for 10.5 million missed school days.  If the new federal plan is adopted, CT’s children will be in school more often, and be able to participate in after-school activities.