NJ Sens. Applaud Hackensack Hospital Asthma Program

By Ang Santos, WBGO News
Hackensack. May 3, 2016

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NJ Sens. Sweeney and Sarlo participate in asthma awareness roundtable

New Jersey state lawmakers were in Hackensack to discuss a program that aids asthmatics in low-income communities.

The “Air Express Bus” program travels to Hackensack grade schools to screen children for asthma.  Dr. Mary Ann Michelis is director of the program.  She says it’s been a great way to spread asthma awareness amongst parents and children.

“It’s incredibly frightening for a child or even an adult to find out that they have asthma by being acutely short of breath and having to seek an emergency room.  Unfortunately that’s a very common thing.”

State Senator Paul Sarlo says he suffered from chronic asthma growing up.

“Literally when you had an asthma attack at a young age you felt like you weren’t going to make it, you couldn’t breathe,” Sarlo said.  “It’s scary, scary stuff.  I give these institutions like Hackensack University Medical Center and other medical centers for bringing this bus and others to the schools and educate kids so they don’t have to suffer like so many young kids did in the 70’s and 80’s.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney says promoting asthma awareness keeps people out of the emergency room.

“People running to the emergency room every time they have an asthma attack has a large cost too it,” Sweeney said.  “Having the ability for young people to understand and their families to understand so they get the proper treatments and their not running into the hospitals all of the time is very important.”

State senators Sweeney and Sarlo say promoting asthma awareness curbs the risk of emergency room visits, and lowers healthcare for everybody across the state.

“The more people we can keep out of the emergency room, the better off we are as a state, a more healthier state we become, and it lowers the cost of healthcare in the state,” said Sarlo.  "Prevention, education, and tip your hat to the doctors here…thinking outside the box, going out in the community, and teaching people about asthma.”

NPR

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