January 29, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal in FY 2020 Executive Budget to Reduce Asthma-Related Illnesses

Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal in FY 2020 Executive Budget to Reduce Asthma-Related Illnesses

Multi-Agency 'Healthy Homes' Pilot to Serve 500 Low-Income Households in Regions with Highest Asthma Burden

Pilot Aims to Reduce Environmental Asthma Triggers in The Home and Curb Asthma-Related Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced as part of his fiscal year 2020 Executive Budget a proposal to reduce asthma-related illnesses in children and adults by improving home energy performance and safety. Under this proposal, the New York State Department of Health and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will partner to implement the New York State Healthy Homes Pilot in the homes of approximately 500 Medicaid members living in regions with the highest asthma burden across the State. The pilot will sustainably integrate asthma management services and reduce environmental asthma triggers with home energy efficiency improvements and safety measures to reduce asthma-related illnesses. This proposal is part of the Governor's groundbreaking Health Across All Policies Initiative.

"Every New Yorker, regardless of their financial circumstances, has the right to live in a safe and healthy home free of the triggers that can worsen asthma," Governor Cuomo said. "Housing quality is a key factor linked to chronic health issues, and this new pilot program can help address the problem head on and improve the quality of life for New Yorkers living with asthma."

To improve asthma-related health outcomes, Governor Cuomo will launch the multi-agency pilot building on the successes of Medicaid's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program asthma projects. The healthy homes model integrates energy efficiency and housing services with home-based asthma self-management education, home environmental assessment and remediation, and home-injury prevention interventions.

Administered in partnership by NYSERDA and NYSDOH, pilot participants will benefit from a wide range of no-cost home-based services designed to improve their asthma control, including education on medication management, identification and reduction of asthma triggers services, pest management control, and resources such as specialized vacuums, mattress and pillow covers and asthma-friendly cleaning kits.

Households will also receive a no-cost home energy and environmental assessment from NYSERDA to identify opportunities for improved energy performance along with health and safety improvements. As determined by the assessment, measures such as air sealing, insulation, heating system repair, ventilation, and air conditioning may be installed according to need, along with provision of in-home measure optimization education.

As part of Medicaid's Value-Based Payment Reform, the Office of Health Insurance Programs will work with participating managed care organizations to incorporate pilot activities into their value-based payment arrangements as part of the requirement to address social determinants of health. Participating managed care organizations commit to contributing sustainable financial support for activities included in the pilot, which will ensure that improved quality of care and beneficial housing improvements will be addressed into the future and independently of pilot funding.

As further compliance with Medicaid's Value-Based Payment Reform, the pilot will measure progress and quality metrics spanning multiple social determinants of health that impact asthma and evaluate potential savings, including energy efficiency savings and reductions in healthcare costs associated with avoidable emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Vulnerable and low-income families face a disproportionately high burden from asthma, which not only impacts their overall health and productivity, but also increases health system costs. Research shows that missed school and work days due to asthma, as well as a significant portion of these costs, can be reduced by providing integrated clinical and environmental health interventions in the home.

Reducing the burden of asthma is a critical public health concern and the economic costs are significant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Chronic Disease Cost Calculator, the 2017 estimated total costs for asthma in New York State were more than $3.5 billion, including loss of productivity.

In 2017, Governor Cuomo launched the Health Across all Policies Initiative, a collaborative approach that integrates health considerations into policymaking across all sectors to improve community health and wellness, recognizing that a community's greatest health challenges are complex and often linked with other societal issues that extend beyond healthcare and traditional public health activities.

New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Asthma can reduce quality of life for all family members through frequent doctor or emergency department visits, missed days of school or work, and restricting participation in activities. Through awareness of triggers, medication, and home improvements, asthma can be managed and individuals with asthma can fully engage in their daily activities. I commend Governor Cuomo for bringing a holistic approach to this important public health matter."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO of NYSERDA said, "Ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to programs that improve the comfort, quality, energy efficiency and overall healthiness of their homes, while decreasing harmful emissions, is a cornerstone of Governor Cuomo's nation-leading clean energy and climate goals. The Governor's Green New Deal is prioritizing the health of residents and visitors alike by putting us on a path to carbon neutrality and advancing statewide clean energy programs that help improve air quality and create greener and cleaner communities not just for those of us who are here now - but for generations to come."

More information about asthma can be found here.


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