Breathmobiles offer hope, free tests for kids with asthma

asthmaKids of the 1970s and '80s might recall "bookmobiles," the mobile libraries that stopped in neighborhoods throughout the country. Now, parents of kids with asthma have new reason to celebrate seeing an RV roll into their neighborhoods: It may offer life-saving help.

Breathmobiles are showing up on the streets of California, Phoenix, Arizona, Maryland and Chicago. These mobile clinics offer diagnosis and treatment of kids with not only asthma, but allergies, too. A few see adult patients as well.

Staffed with doctors, nurses and patient care workers, the Breathmobiles can perform allergy skin and lung-capacity testing, and offer parents the chance for their child to have a physical. Oh, and did we mention it's free?

Parents do not have to pay for the initial diagnosis or treatment, including the cost of any medication. Breathmobile will bill insurance companies for patients who have health insurance. Patients without insurance, or those whose coverage does not cover the Breathmobile visit, are not billed. So kids with asthma are not turned away, regardless of their family's insurance coverage.

Currently, Breathmobiles are only in select cities, but for more information on these or other free and low-cost asthma clinics, visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
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