The collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, released a substantial amount of respiratory irritants into the air. To assess the asthma status of Medicaid managed care enrollees who may have been exposed, the New York State Department of Health, Office of Managed Care, conducted a mail survey among enrollees residing in New York City. All enrollees, aged 5–56 with persistent asthma before September 11, 2001, were surveyed during summer 2002. Administrative health service utilization data from the Medicaid Encounter Data System were used to validate and supplement survey responses. A total of 3.664 enrollees responded. Multivariate logistic regression models were developed to examine factors associated with self-reported worsened asthma post September 11, 2001, and with emergency department/inpatient hospitalizations related to asthma from September 11, 2001, through December 31, 2001. Forty-five percent of survey respondents reported worsened asthma post 9/11. Respondents who reported worsened asthma were significantly more likely to have utilized health services for asthma than those who reported stable or improved asthma. Residence in both lower Manhattan (adjusted OR=2.28) and Western Brooklyn (adjusted OR=2.40) were associated with self-reported worsened asthma. However, only residents of Western Brooklyn had an elevated odds ratio for emergency department/inpatient hospitalizations with diagnoses of asthma post 9/11 (adjusted OR=1.52). Worsened asthma was reported by a significant proportion of this low-income, largely minority population and was associated with the location of residence. Results from this study provide guidance to health care organizations in the development of plans to ensure the health of people with asthma during disaster situations.
AsthmaMedicaid managed careTerrorismWorld Trade Center