Asthma is a major public health issue in Harris County and is known to be one of the most common chronic diseases in children nationally. Harris County has an asthma prevalence of 8.9% with over 96,000 pediatric asthma diagnoses. In 2012, there were 1,173 pediatric asthma hospitalizations with over 52,000 unduplicated claims, totaling over $13 million in Medicaid expenditures in Harris County. According to the American Lung Association (ALA), untreated or poorly controlled asthma leads to high rates of school absenteeism, numerous visits to the emergency room, and/or unplanned physician visits.
Although asthma is not curable, studies have shown that with the proper knowledge and treatment of symptoms and triggers, pediatric asthma can be adequately controlled with medication and a self-management plan. With recent environmental disasters in Harris County, having a program that addresses how to adequately manage asthma symptoms and reduce its burdens is highly beneficial to the health of the county as a whole.