Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs. In New York State, more than 1.1 million adults have asthma.1 Asthma currently affects about 8.4% (370,000) children2 and 9.3% (more than 1.1 million) of adults in New York.3 Total Medicaid health care expenditures for people with asthma in New York State exceeded $1 billion in fiscal year 2000.4

In recognition of asthma as a growing public health problem, the state Department of Health convened an expert panel in late Fall of 2002 to develop a statewide guideline for the treatment of asthma.  The panel was comprised of several health plan medical directors, representatives from various physician specialty societies (Pediatrics, Family Practice, Internists and the Medical Society of the State of New York) and included many recognized experts in the field of allergy and pulmonology. The guideline, which is consistent with the current National Institute of Health Asthma Guideline, was released in October of 2003 and endorsed by all HPA member plans and was distributed to more than 20,000 physicians across New York.

The guideline was most recently updated in 2012.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Health Statistics
2National Asthma Survey NYS data for children under 18, 2003
3New York State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2005
4New York State Department of Health, 2002; Claim Detail/Special Reporting System, Office of Medicaid Management



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