Breathmobile Comes to East Contra Costa County, First Stop Scheduled for Pittsburg


The Northern California Breathmobile (BMO), a mobile pediatric Asthma clinic is coming to East Contra Costa County, notably Pittsburg, Concord, and Martinez, visiting schools and community centers to see children ages 3mo to 19 years with asthma.

The first visit will be July 5, 2018 at Pittsburg Unified School District’s (PUSD) Parkside Elementary school from 8:30am to 3:00pm.

“Pittsburg Unified School District is grateful to partner with the Breathmobile program. The partnership is another way for the school district to continue its goal of helping children in our community become healthy life-long learners, said Enrique Palacios, Deputy Superintendent, Pittsburg Unified School District.”

The program complements the Districts Idle-Free initiative, where parents and visitors are encouraged to turn their vehicles off and be “Idle-Free” when waiting near school facilities. Additionally, Pittsburg Unified is in the process of converting its entire bus fleet into electric and clean-energy efficient vehicles. “These two initiatives along with the Breathmobile program showcase the district’s commitment to reducing air pollution in Pittsburg and near school facilities,” said Palacios.

The Breathmobile Program, operated by the Prescott-Joseph Center for Community Enhancement, Inc, was awarded a $500,000 grant to purchase a Winnebago van, designed as a medical clinic, prepare it and open an office in the area (and set up) to start seeing patients in ECCC

Pittsburg Unified was gracious enough to provide office space, a place to park the van and become a partner in the program.

Data published by California Breathing, a department of the State’s Public Health Department, shows estimated life time prevalence’s among children ages 0-17 per 10,000 children for specified zip codes as follows: Antioch—19.1 % , 17.7% for specified zip codes in Concord, for specified zip codes in Pittsburg 21%, for specified zip codes in Richmond (for comparison) 18% and State of California as a whole 14.3% Dollars spent in these same areas:

The above prevalence’s and costs data are consequences of Socioeconomic factors, Environmental factors, Education, poor housing stock and cultural behavior. These factors contribute to increased Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations, school absenteeism and an increase in Healthcare dollars spent for asthma care.

Data for hospitalizations for the 0-17 ages above areas show per 10,000 residents–: Antioch—15.1, Concord 10.00, Richmond—17.1, Pittsburg—16.7, California as a whole—10.1 ER visits for the age group, 0-17 years. Per 10,000 residents. Antioch—605, Concord—247, Richmond— 249, Pittsburgh—358.

The Breathmobile Program was started in Los Angeles at USC by Craig Jones, Professor of Pediatric Department of Asthma and Immunology, specifically to see children of low income families who were using albuterol inhalers to manage their asthma and when the inhalers failed them they used the rescue pattern of going to the emergency rooms for help to end the attack. It spread to other counties in Southern California, UCLA and 4 other medical centers in the US. This consortium has had wonderful results reducing ER visits, hospitalizations by 70-80%. Our results are the same:

About the Breathmobile The Northern California Breathmobile was started September, 2009, in Alameda County by PJC in Oakland, Bay View Hunter’s Point, and West Contra Costa County. The program now serves 25 sites in the East Bay.

The Breathmobile is a 33 foot Winnebago van that has an electronic medical record, A Health Risk Assessment program, has Spirometry for Pulmonary Function, a private room for the provider (M.D. or Nurse Practitioner), a nurse or Medical Assistant, a Respiratory Therapist and a driver. All know asthma very well. The Breathmobile goes to schools every 4-6 weeks, to see children with asthma. The child has to be accompanied by an adult. All children have to make an appointment. There is no waiting. A parent can pick up his or her child from the class room (the teachers know about the appointment). First visits may take 40 minutes, but follow up visits take only 30 minutes. Children are thoroughly evaluated, get pulmonary function studies if abnormal to begin with, every visit, see a provider for History and Physical, and after the provider reviews all of the data, an asthma action plan is issued to the family. Everything is done according to National Standards. Then the patient is seen by one of the team members who reviews the action plan, talks to the family about how to use the medication, asthma triggers in the home, how to use the inhalers or other asthma devices, and about how to clean the devices. If the patient needs treatment with inhaled medication, it is done. All patients are referred for a home inspection looking for asthma triggers and are educated about remedial changes. Some of this is done at no cost to the families.

Most of the patients are MediCal patients, but we do see patients with insurance. We do not bill the insurance companies or MediCal. No patient leaves without medication or means to get medication. Again this is done at no charge to the patient.

About Pittsburg Unified School District
Awarded the College Board’s Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll award in 2016 for expanding access to college, Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) is one of 130 school districts across the nation recognized for creating opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students. PUSD is a K-12 district serving the community of Pittsburg, California. Founded in 1933, the school system is committed to providing an excellent opportunity for all students to learn. Comprised of eight elementary schools, three junior high schools, one comprehensive high school, one alternative education high school, an adult school, independent study options, and a preschool program, the school district serves more than 11,500 students. PUSD is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, fifty minutes outside of downtown San Francisco. 

The following information was released by the Pittsburg Unified School District