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Health Indicator Report of Asthma Emergency Department Encounters

Asthma is one of the common chronic diseases in New Mexico, with an estimated 156,782 adults currently having the disease. People with asthma are more likely to miss school or work, report feelings of depression, and experience an overall reduced quality of life. Asthma is also costly, with expenses from routine checkups, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and medications putting a significant burden on families, the health care sector, and the economy. Though it cannot be cured, asthma can be controlled through quality health care, appropriate medications, and good self-management skills. When asthma is controlled, people with the disease have few, if any, symptoms, and can live normal and productive lives.


ICD Stands for International Classification of Diseases. It is a coding system maintained by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics used to classify causes of death on death certificates and diagnoses, injury causes, and medical procedures for hospital and emergency department visits. These codes are updated every decade or so to account for advances in medical technology. The U.S. is currently using the 10th revision (ICD-10) to code causes of death. The 9th revision of clinically modified ICD(ICD-9-CM) was still in use for hospital and emergency department visits until October 1st, 2015. After this date, hospitals were required to use ICD-10-CM codes.

Data Sources

  • This information is provided by the Health Systems Epidemiology Program of the New Mexico Department of Health.
  • Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program,

Data Interpretation Issues

When utilizing these data, the following caveats should be noted: Data are submitted by 36 individual hospital emergency departments. Different hospitals have different medical records systems with different capacities to extract data, file formats that are produced, and definitions for when a patient is an inpatient or an outpatient. Data submitted by individual hospital emergency departments to the interim data set are not in the National Health Level Seven (HL7) standard format or content and caution should be taken when comparing these data to other state or federal data. Data submitted have been examined for internal consistency and to determine whether they have conformed to the NMDOH request guidelines. Data do not include emergency department visits to Indian Health Services or Veteran Affair's hospitals. Data do not include emergency department visits from those New Mexico residents who visit out of state emergency departments. Emergency Department (ED) data are collected from facilities yearly. The long-term plan is for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to collect these data through an ED electronic reporting (e-reporting) system currently being developed with the New Mexico Health Information Collaborative (NMHIC). However, not all facilities are reporting to the ED e-reporting system at this time. Therefore, in the interim, we have requested that each facility submit its data directly to the NMDOH. The department is authorized to request and receive these data under the Public Health Act which grants the department authority to "Investigate, control and abate the cause of disease" (NMSA 1978 Section 24-1-3C). Additional authority was enacted (NMAC on April 30, 2009 which specifically requires that all non-federal emergency departments in the State of New Mexico must comply with NMDOH requests for ED data.


An asthma emergency department visitis a visit by a New Mexico resident to an emergency department that occurs in state with asthma listed as the primary (first-listed) diagnosis. Asthma emergency department visits include those with ICD-9-CM codes 493.0-493.49 and/or ICD-10-CM code J45


Number of emergency department visits where asthma is the primary (first-listed) diagnosis.


Estimated number of New Mexico residents in a specified population over a specified time period.

How Are We Doing?

For the period 2010 to 2014, asthma ED visits generally increased and show modest declines in the last two years, 2015-2016.

What Is Being Done?

The New Mexico Department of Health Asthma Program collects, analyzes, and disseminates asthma data in order to identify populations that have high burden of asthma. The Asthma Program also works with partners throughout the state (such as hospitals, physician groups, insurance plans, and schools) to design and implement health interventions to lessen the disease burden. Current interventions include providing asthma self-management education to pediatric patients, supporting indoor air quality assessments of homes to limit exposures to potential asthma triggers, and offering provider training on the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) asthma medical guidelines.

Evidence-based Practices

Asthma and its symptoms can be controlled and related impairments or hospitalizations can be prevented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NAEPP of the National Institutes of Health-National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have issued guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. These guidelines translated advances in scientific and clinical research into practical advice for people with asthma, for the health care providers who look after them, and for the communities where they live.

Available Services

The Asthma Program works with partners (e.g., hospitals, physicians, insurance plans, and schools) throughout the state to design and implement health interventions to lessen asthma burden, especially in areas of asthma disparities. Current interventions include providing asthma self-management education to pediatric patients and training Community Health Workers for home visits with people with asthma to assist them in identifying and eliminating irritants and triggers from the house. The New Mexico Asthma Program, funded entirely through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control, supports health intervention activities aimed at increasing asthma awareness in the state, improving asthma self-management through patient education initiatives, and providing health care provider training on the latest National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Asthma Guidelines for medical practice. For more information about the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program's (NAEPP) Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma visit New Mexico Asthma Program Information For information about the asthma program in New Mexico visit Asthma Program, New Mexico Department of Health, P.O. Box 26110, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Suite N1300, Santa Fe, NM 87505.

Health Program Information

Asthma Program, New Mexico Department of Health, P.O. Box 26110, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Suite N1300, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Heidi Krapfl, Principal Investigator and Bureau Chief, (505) 476-3577,

Page Content Updated On 10/11/2017, Published on 06/12/2018
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Content updated: Tue, 12 Jun 2018 09:46:10 MDT