MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach was recognized for the third consecutive time for excellence in pediatric asthma care. Miller Children’s & Women’s remains the only free-standing children’s hospital in California, and only one of 13 hospitals in the nation, to receive the Disease Specific Certification in Pediatric Asthma from The Joint Commission.

“We’re reviewed every two years by The Joint Commission, and between those reviews we’re constantly seeking ways that we can improve our standards of care,” says Inderpal Randhawa, M.D., medical director, Children’s Pulmonary Institute, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “We’re honored to be among the elite asthma care providers in our country.”

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization offering unbiased assessment of quality achievement in patient care and safety. This re-certification denotes the highest honor for quality in patient care for children with asthma.

“We use the latest technology, medications and evidence-based guidelines to achieve the best outcomes for our patients with asthma,” says Steven Jensen, M.D., medical director, General Pediatrics, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “The continued approval by The Joint Commission emphasizes our efforts.”

Since the last site review, the care team has focused on two key initiatives. The first is a study designed to track and improve how patients are managing asthma after hospitalization. Improvements were seen through increased education and implementation of a standard asthma control test.

“The asthma control test provides a numerical score to help us determine if asthma symptoms are well controlled,” says Dr. Jensen. “It also allows us to identify areas of education that we still need to focus on.”

This test, previously used across Miller Children’s & Women’s inpatient units, was implemented in the outpatient setting and during home visits through the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma. The Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, part of Miller Children’s & Women’s, works with families in their home and school to manage a child’s asthma.

The second initiative was the formalization of a Severe Asthma Clinic and the use of biologics to treat patients identified as having severe asthma.

“At this clinic, our team sees patients whose asthma cannot be controlled effectively and whose condition can deteriorate quickly,” says Dr. Randhawa. “We use a multi-disciplinary approach, since many patients with asthma also suffer from allergies, which makes their care complex. Through group meetings, our pulmonologist, allergist, pharmacist and respiratory care practitioner determine a plan of care, including the consideration of new types of precision medical treatments, such as biologics.”

Recently, several new medications, known as “biologics,” have been approved for the treatment of moderate to severe asthma in children as young as 6-years-old. Biologics are unique in that they target a specific antibody, molecule, or cell involved in asthma. Because of this, they are known as “precision” or “personalized” therapy.

“Biologics have shown to decrease emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and need for oral steroids,” says Dr. Randhawa. “Some have even been found to improve lung function. We know our community has a high burden of asthma, and we’re committed to always staying at the forefront of medial advancements to improve the lives of our patients.”