Impact of school-based health centers on children with asthma.
PURPOSE: To quantitatively assess the impact of school-based health centers (SBHCs) on hospitalization and emergency department (ED) visits for children with asthma. METHODS: The study was conducted at four SBHC intervention school districts and two comparable non-SBHC school districts in Greater Cincinnati, Ohio. A longitudinal quasi-experimental time-series repeated measures design was used with a study period from 1997 to 2003. Children with asthma with at least 2 years of continuous enrollment who had medical claims for asthma diagnosis and antiasthmatic medications were selected. The primary data sources were student enrollment data from the schools and the Ohio Medicaid claims database. Generalized estimating equation (GEE) analysis and analysis of covariance were used to assess the intervention effect before and after the SBHC program. RESULTS: Asthma was one of the major diseases for SBHC encounters. Major prescription drugs that SBHC staff managed for children with asthma included albuterol, montelukast, fluticasone, budesonide, and triamcinolone. Of 273 children (196 in SBHC schools and 77 in non-SBHC schools), 42% were female, 41.7% African-Americans, and the average age was 8.2 years. After the opening of the SBHC, relative risks of hospitalization and ED visits in the SBHC group decreased 2.4-fold and 33.5%, respectively. The cost of hospitalization per child decreased significantly over time for children in SBHC schools (F = 4.115, p = .044). After SBHCs opened, cost of hospitalization decreased for African-American children (F = 5.198, p = .023). Costs of ED visits for children in SBHC schools were significantly lower than children in non-SBHC schools (F = 19.8, p < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: The risk of hospitalization and ED visits for children with asthma decreased significantly with SBHC programs. The potential cost-savings for hospitalization was estimated as 970 dollars per child.
Guo, JJ; Jang, R; Keller, KN; McCracken, AL; Pan, W; Cluxton, RJ
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