ATLANTA and TAMPA, Fla., July 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- WellCare of Georgia, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), has provided a $75,000 grant to help fund a one-year asthma quality improvement project conducted by the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The project was designed to improve asthma care in pediatric practices by better understanding the most effective ways to promote the implementation, adoption and spread of evidenced-based practices.
Childhood asthma, one of the most common pediatric chronic diseases, affects approximately 7 million children across the country. The incidence of pediatric asthma accounts for 10.5 million missed school days a year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate a disproportionately greater rate of asthma among children, women, African Americans and those reporting income below the federal poverty level. Between 2006 and 2010, the prevalence of both lifetime and current asthma was higher among Georgia children than the U.S. average.
As part of the improvement project, 20 Georgia AAP member practices participated in a program created to implement the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute optimal asthma care guidelines.
"The Academy has made quality improvement a major focus of its activity during the past few years and will continue to do so," said Evelyn Johnson, MD, immediate past president of the Georgia Chapter. "This project was an excellent way to acquaint our members with quality improvement techniques and integrate them into their busy pediatric practices. We very much appreciated the support of WellCare in this important endeavor."
The member practices were trained on quality improvement techniques to improve office workflows and treatment procedures of their asthma patients; established a core internal quality improvement (QI) team; participated in four learning sessions and monthly practice calls led by AAP leadership; and implemented Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles.
The PDSA cycle is a useful tool for documenting quality improvement projects by developing a plan to test the change (Plan), carrying out the test (Do), observing and learning from the consequences (Study), and determining what modifications should be made to the test (Act).
A post-project survey of participating practices indicated that over 90 percent of respondents believe their asthma care processes improved significantly; and over 80 percent are confident that their practice can conduct other quality improvement initiatives to improve patient outcomes.
"WellCare is proud to partner with the Georgia Chapter of the AAP to help equip pediatric providers with the resources they need to better serve children suffering from asthma in the state," said Dr. John Alexander Johnson, senior medical director, WellCare of Georgia. "This partnership has a simple goal to help children control their asthma so they can do everyday activities like sleep soundly, attend school and play sports."
For more information on American Academy of Pediatrics – Georgia Chapter, visit www.gaaap.org.
As of March 31, 2016, WellCare serves approximately 583,000 Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids® plan members, 37,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 24,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Georgia. To learn more about how we care for Georgians watch Gloria's story at http://youtu.be/qyn-nywze04.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc. Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 3.7 million members nationwide as of March 31, 2016. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.