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24 Jun 2016

Keystone First and AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership team up to fight asthma with “Healthy Hoops”

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June 24, 2016 Category: Health Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Students after Basketball Clinic Program.   (Photo by Leona Dixon)

Keystone First and AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership hosted the award-winning Healthy Hoops® program at Universal Bluford Charter School, one of many programs that reflect Keystone First’s integrated model of care. Healthy Hoops aims to make learning to identify, manage and live with asthma fun by pairing hands-on asthma education and screenings by a team of medical experts with basketball clinics led by well-known basketball coaches.

Children and families received hands-on asthma education, health screenings, spirometry tests and consultations with medical professionals who provided information to help develop an asthma management plan with their primary care provider. Following the screenings, children participated in a basketball clinic led by coaches including Sonny Hill, executive advisor to the Philadelphia 76ers and Speedy Morris, head coach at St. Joseph’s Preparatory High School, while parents learned about asthma management.


Healthy Hoops encourages physically active lifestyles in children and families who are traditionally discouraged from being active due to their asthma. The program has been shown to reduce school absenteeism by 20 percent, decrease rescue medication by 8.82 percent and decrease emergency room visits by 59 percent. Healthy Hoops not only teaches asthma management, but addresses other health risks including obesity, malnutrition and progression of cardiovascular risk factors.

Health screening at the Universal Bluford Charter School.  (Photo by Leona Dixon)

Health screening at the Universal Bluford Charter School. (Photo by Leona Dixon)

“Asthma is one of the leading causes of preventable emergency room visits and hospitalization among children,” said Joanne McFall, market president of Keystone First. “Our goal is to provide children and their families with the tools that can help them spend less time in the hospital and more time leading active, healthy and fun-filled lives.”

“The keys to a successful asthma control strategy are education and repetition,” said Dr. Lily Higgins, market chief medical officer for Keystone First. “Asthma is a chronic disease which can be controlled when members learn to avoid triggers, take daily controller medication, recognize asthma symptoms and respond appropriately. These are strategies we teach at Healthy Hoops as part of Keystone First’s award-winning asthma management program focused on reducing the impact of asthma on the quality of life and health of our members.”

“For nearly 15 years our Healthy Hoops program has improved health outcomes of children with asthma in the communities we serve,” said Christopher Drumm, President of AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership. “I am proud to say Healthy Hoops has touched the lives of over 10,000 children. These are exciting times for the Healthy Hoops program as the AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership continues to expand our work to encourage healthy lifestyles to thousands more throughout the country.” 

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