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% of adults with asthma who have a written asthma management plan from a doctor or health care professional


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Story Behind the Curve

Last Updated: January 2023

Author: Asthma Program, Vermont Department of Health

The percent of adults with asthma who have received a written asthma management plan slowly increased between 2006 - 2014. Adult Vermonters with a written asthma management plan fluctuated between 23% and 33% during this time period, still remaining below the target value of 40%. The reason that the Program has not yet reached the target could be due to several reasons, including patients' infrequent visits to providers who may also underestimate the value of an asthma action plan for adult management. The Program historically has focused the majority of its outreach activities with the pediatric population, and has added interventions to assist the adult asthma population. The last year that this data set from the Asthma Call Back Survey is available is in 2015, showing a slight dip.

Why Is This Important?

Healthcare professionals (clinicians) should provide asthma self-management education to patients with asthma and their families or caregivers. Asthma self-management education is essential to reducing asthma-related adverse health effects. Learning how to improve one’s asthma management through avoiding triggers, taking medication properly, and seeing a provider regularly are some of the key education elements and result in improved quality of life by reducing urgent care visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and healthcare costs. In addition, every patient with asthma should be given a written asthma action plan providing instructions for daily asthma management and for recognizing and handling worsening asthma. 1

This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.

1. Douglass J, et al. BMJ 2002;324:1003–5.

  • Maternal and Child Health is a division in the Department of Health that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on increasing coordination at schools and among school nurses to address absenteeism and asthma education for school nurses/students, including training school nurses in selected supervisory unions throughout the state on asthma self-management.
  • Blueprint for Health is a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on educating community health teams on asthma education and tools available to improve self-management, including Asthma Action Plans and Healthier Living Workshops that support improving asthma management.
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center is a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on home visiting programs, the MAPLE hospital discharge protocol and community education.
  • DVHA is a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on reducing the burden of asthma among Medicaid-insured including exploring reimbursement for community-based education.
  • Vermont Department of Health Offices of Local Health are partners that work with the Vermont Asthma Program to disseminate asthma action plans and reach local communities
  • Asthma Advisory Panel is a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on developing strategic goals and relationships.
  • Asthma Regional Council is a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on facilitating meetings between the different New England Asthma Programs
  • Northeast American Lung Association is a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on supplying education materials to asthma educators within the state.
  • University of Vermont: Pediatrics is a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on expanding access and delivery of supplementary asthma self-management education to those with uncontrolled asthma and severe persistent asthma to prevent asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
  • Vermont Chronic Care Initiative is a partner that will work with the asthma program on incorporating asthma education into their case management home visiting programs
  • Vermont One Care is a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program at improving care for pediatric and adult populations by hosting a learning collaborative and facilitating quality improvement projects among participating providers and practices in guideline care.
  • Hark Website Design, Branding & Communication is a partner that works with Vermont Asthma Program creating a digital media plan with the goal of increasing awareness of secondhand smoke exposures, increasing referrals to 802Quits, promoting importance of flu shots and asthma action plans, and reducing exposures to asthma triggers in homes and schools.


What Works

Following the recognized guidelines works to improve asthma control and having an asthma action plan is an integral part of the guidelines. In 2007, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), released its third set of clinical practice guidelines for asthma. The Expert Panel Report 3—Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3) reflects the latest scientific advances in asthma drawn from a systematic review of the published medical literature by an NAEPP-convened expert panel. It describes a range of generally accepted best-practice approaches for making clinical decisions about asthma care.


The Vermont Asthma Program works with clinicians and practices around the state to ensure adherence to best practice guidelines and to increase the usage of Asthma Action Plans and education provided to people with asthma. The Vermont Asthma Program also works to disseminate Asthma Action Plans which are a validated tool for educating patients on how to manage asthma. The Program is in Year 2 of a M.A.P.L.E plan initiative in Rutland and Springfield aimed to help lower rates of hospitalization and readmission by forming plans for asthma management post hospital discharge. The Asthma Program also works with the Vermont Chronic Care Initiative to enhance their case managers' home visiting asthma education with the goal that they administer an asthma control test and demonstrate effective medication use.

Notes on Methodology

Data is updated as it becomes available and timing may vary by data source. For more information about this indicator, click here.

This indicator is age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. In U.S. data, age adjustment is used for comparison of regions with varying age breakdowns. In order to remain consistent with the methods of comparison at a national level, some statistics in Vermont were age adjusted. In cases where age adjustment was noted as being part of the statistical analysis, the estimates were adjusted based on the proportional age breakdowns of the U.S. population in 2000. For more detailed information on age adjustment visit /

Due to BRFSS weighting methodology changes beginning in 2011, comparisons between data collected in 2011 and later and that from 2010 and earlier should be made with caution. Differences between data from 2011 forward and earlier years may be due to methodological changes, rather than changes in opinion or behavior.

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