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Disseminating geographically granular child asthma prevalence estimates

Published online: October 16, 2018

Evidence-based healthcare guidelines suggest interventions can reduce the severity of outcomes associated with pediatric asthma. To identify high-risk areas to target, community and public health departments use national and state level metrics disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In an article recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Smith, Fitzpatrick and Serban produce more granular asthma prevalence metrics for children enrolled in Medicaid for the entire United States using the 2012 Medicaid Analytic eXtract claims data acquired from the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The estimates were studied at the state, county and census tract levels, and they were compared to those provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, the study identified regions of high prevalence at the county and census level. The granular prevalence estimates can be made available upon request.

The researchers found that 1.98 million children have been diagnosed and treated with asthma, which amounts to 8.1% of children in Medicaid programs nationally. They found that asthma prevalence varied not only between states (2.5% in Nevada vs 15.9% in Alabama), but also within states (0% vs 45.2% in counties in Texas). High prevalence regions spanned primarily in the southern Midwest region, from Texas to West Virginia and Illinois to north Florida.
This study provided comprehensive data for diagnosed and treated asthma prevalence for the Medicaid child population, identifying significant disparities in diagnosis of asthma between and within states. Through identifying high-prevalence communities, areas to be targeted for asthma management intervention are highlighted.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

Asthma prevalence among Medicaid-enrolled children