Something new in the air: Paying for community-based environmental approaches to asthma prevention and control

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Despite the recommendation in national asthma guidelines to target indoor environmental exposures, most insurers generally have not covered the outreach, education, environmental assessments, or durable goods integral to home environmental interventions. However, emerging payment approaches offer new potential for coverage of home-based environmental intervention costs. These opportunities are becoming available as public and private insurers shift reimbursement to reward better health outcomes, and their key characteristic is a focus on the value rather than the volume of services. These new payment models for environmental interventions can be divided into 2 categories: enhanced fee-for-service reimbursement and set payments per patient that cover asthma-related costs. Several pilot programs across the United States are underway, and as they prove their value and as payment increasingly becomes aligned with better outcomes at lower cost, these efforts should have a bright future. Physicians should be aware that these new possibilities are emerging for payment of the goods and services needed for indoor environmental interventions for their patients with asthma.

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