Asthma Resource Center
Asthma hits Alameda County residents hard, particularly African Americans living along the I-880 corridor.
- Alameda County asthma hospitalization rates in every demographic group are the second highest among the state's 58 counties.
- The San Francisco Bay Area rate of asthma hospitalization is 207 per 100,000 children aged 0-14, and 120 per 100,000 for all ages, which are both higher than the statewide rates.
Usually only the most serious asthma cases require hospitalization. However, those without access to adequate healthcare resources are likely to experience repeated episodes, trips to the emergency room, hospitalization, and absences from school or work.
In 2000, Alta Bates Summit founded the Asthma Resource Center (ARC), a unique proactive program designed to improve the treatment of asthma patients and ultimately reduce the need for Emergency Department visits and hospital stays. The center staff found that, frequently, people coming into the hospital weren't taking their asthma medicine or weren't taking it correctly. To help prevent repeated Emergency Department visits, ARC takes a proactive approach to ensuring proper care and treatment.
ARC staff calls all at-risk asthma patients who come to the Emergency Department to identify those who would benefit from the clinic's services. They share information about the ARC and encourage them to come in for education, medicine and help in accessing clinics that offer free or low-cost care. When patients come to the ARC, they receive a fanny pack with a spacer tube and peak-flow meter as well as a one-month supply of medicine.
The ARC has been a tremendous success. Asthma-related visits to the Alta Bates Summit Emergency Department have dropped 25% from 847 in 2001 to 634 in 2004. Total hospital admissions are down 55% from 112 in 2001 to 50 in 2004.
The Asthma Resource Center collaborates with local health clinics to identify asthma patients needing assistance. ARC staff provide training techniques to the volunteers and staff at the West Berkeley and Berkeley Primary Care clinics, and also partners with Emergency Department staff to ensure that asthma treatment guidelines are followed, appropriate prescriptions are dispensed, and that referrals to ARC are given to asthma patients.
For more information about the Asthma Resource Center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, please call (510) 204-3348.