REGION - 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 asthma.
    Program Specialist from the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania Tony Delonti said, "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 overall goal of the Asthma Care Package Program is a better quality of life
for asthmatic patients, and decreased doctor and hospital visits," said Delonti.
    The Asthma Care Packages includes 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 Packages to 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.
    Since the items in the package can be costly, Delonti added, “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.

    ••• 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.