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Blue Ribbon Foundation and American Lung Association Team Up to Help At-Risk Individuals

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
May 1, 2014

More Than 200 Served by Asthma Care Package Program

Wilkes-Barre, PA —May marks Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) recently funded a program through the American Lung Association (ALA) that will help more than 200 asthmatic residents of Lackawanna, Luzerne, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming Counties better manage their disease.

“According to ALA statistics, approximately 10 percent of children and 11 percent of adults have been diagnosed with asthma in this five county area,” said Tony Delonti, program specialist, American Lung Association in Pennsylvania.  “After an asthma diagnosis, we have found that there is often a lack of understanding of the proper management of asthma, especially in inhaler techniques and lung function monitoring.”

To help address this issue, the Asthma Care Package Program provides needed items – such as a peak flow meter, which measures how fast air comes out of the lungs, and a spacer that ensures the proper delivery of inhaled medicines – to limited-income patients at no cost.

“The patients benefit through an increased understanding of their disease and its proper management,” said Delonti.  “And the overall goal of the Asthma Care Package Program is a better quality of life for asthmatic patients, and decreased doctor and hospital visits.”

The Asthma Care Packages also include educational materials on proper asthma management, including a DVD with visual instructions on how to use equipment such as inhalers.

The ALA will deliver the Asthma Care Packagesto participating health care agencies in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming Counties through the end of November. The kits will be provided at no cost to patients who cannot afford them.

“Items included in the Asthma Care Package help the patient properly manage their asthma, but they can be somewhat costly,”said Delonti.  “That’s why we are grateful for The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s funding.  Without it, many of these patients would suffer needlessly.”  

The Blue Ribbon Foundation previously provided funding for the ALA’s Asthma Care Package Program in 2007. 

“We are pleased to be able to support the Asthma Care Package Program,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s executive director. “We share the ALA’s goal of improving the quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses, and helping them avoid costly doctor and emergency room visits by teaching them the right self-management techniques.”

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves. 

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  In more than a decade of service, The Foundation has awarded more than $10 million in grant funding to 195 nonprofits to help meet the health and wellness needs of more than 193,000 at-risk individuals.