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A Survey of Asthma Care in Managed Care Organizations*: Results From the Chicago Asthma Surveillance Initiative

Sandra G. Nelson, MA; Evalyn N. Grant, MD; Mitchell J. Trubitt, MD, FCCP; Michael B. Foggs, MD, FCCP; Kevin B. Weiss, MD,; for the Chicago Asthma Surveillance Initiative Project Team
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: *From the Center for Health Services Research, Rush Primary Care Institute (Mrs. Nelson and Dr. Weiss), Department of Immunology/Microbiology (Dr. Grant), Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, IL; United Health Care of Illinois Inc (Dr. Trubitt), Chicago, IL; and Advocate Health Care (Dr. Foggs), Chicago, IL. ,  See Appendix for other members of the CASI Project Team.

Correspondence to: Kevin B. Weiss, MD, Center for Health Services Research, Rush Primary Care Institute, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, 1653 W Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60612


Affiliations: *From the Center for Health Services Research, Rush Primary Care Institute (Mrs. Nelson and Dr. Weiss), Department of Immunology/Microbiology (Dr. Grant), Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, IL; United Health Care of Illinois Inc (Dr. Trubitt), Chicago, IL; and Advocate Health Care (Dr. Foggs), Chicago, IL. ,  See Appendix for other members of the CASI Project Team.


Chest. 1999;116(suppl_2):173S-178S. doi:10.1378/chest.116.suppl_2.173S
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Introduction: Managed care, both via staff model health maintenance plans and nonstaff model plans, has become a major source of health-care funding in the United States. However, very little is known about the asthma-specific products and services offered by these plans. The purpose of this study is to examine the asthma-specific products and services offered by managed care within the Chicago area.

Methods: Between December 1997 and February 1998, a self-administered survey was mailed to the medical directors of the 19 managed care organizations (MCOs) in the Chicago area. The survey covered the following content areas: general characteristics of the MCOs, asthma-related services, monitoring of asthma care, and asthma-related quality improvement efforts. The medical directors were asked to respond separately for staff model capitated plans, nonstaff model capitated plans, and noncapitated plans.

Results: Responses were received from 13 of the 19 eligible Chicago-area MCOs (a response rate of 68.4%). Three of the responding MCOs (23.1%) offered a staff model plan, 11 (84.6%) offered a nonstaff model capitated plan, and 6 offered some type of noncapitated plan. Asthma education programs, although available in all plan types, were offered much less frequently in the nonstaff model capitated and noncapitated plans, 36.4% and 33.3%, respectively. Asthma case management programs were also available in some, but not all of the health plans. Only 54.5% of the nonstaff model capitated health plans promoted the use of asthma practice guidelines. Among the responding MCOs, asthma quality improvement efforts related to National Committee on Quality Assurance accreditation were infrequent in 1995. Sixty-one percent of the MCOs reported that program development for improving asthma care was a very high priority relative to programs for other health conditions.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that many, but not all, of the basic elements of asthma care services are offered by the MCOs in the Chicago area. Findings from this study also suggest ways in which asthma-related product and service delivery might be changed to improve outcomes for asthma in this community.


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