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MaineHealth Recognized by EPA for Cutting-Edge Asthma Care

Release Date: 05/03/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - May 3, 2007) – Commemorating the beginning of Asthma Awareness Month, EPA has recognized a Maine healthcare provider’s asthma management program as a national model. The health care provider, MaineHealth of Portland, earned EPA's 2007 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management.

The EPA award recognizes innovative approaches these programs use to improve the health and quality of life for asthmatics in their communities.

“Thanks to federal and state efforts over the past two decades, New Englanders are enjoying better air quality," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. "Unfortunately, asthma is a growing problem in much of New England. EPA is glad to acknowledge the work by MaineHealth to enhance the health and quality-of-life of asthma sufferers."

Specifically, the EPA award recognizes MaineHealth's Asthma Health (AH!) program, which combines standards-based clinical care in the patients’ communities with robust indoor and outdoor environmental asthma management. Patients receive in-depth counseling to manage exposures to environmental triggers in home, school, and work settings. Further, the AH! Program has taken leadership positions to advocate for municipal, state, or national public policy actions to create asthma-friendly environments.

MaineHealth, along with the other 2007 award winners, will be recognized at the second annual Communities in Action for Asthma-Friendly Environments National Asthma Forum in Washington, D.C., on May 31. The National Forum brings in hundreds of health plan, health care and community officials for two days of learning and action planning. Top asthma programs from across the nation share proven strategies for reducing the burden of asthma at the community-level and show how to build, evaluate and sustain high-performing programs.

Of approximately 20 million Americans with asthma, more than six million are children. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10 percent in all six New England states. Asthma is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and school absenteeism for children. Although there is no known cure, experts now understand how to deliver asthma care that can substantially reduce the number of attacks and other adverse impacts.

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