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Des Moines Collaboration Wins National Award

April 5, 2018

DES MOINES, IOWA (April 5, 2018) — Healthy Homes Des Moines (HHDSM) received one of two awards for pro bono technical assistance from Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) and the Center for Healthcare Strategies. The national competition set out to identify comprehensive asthma programs benefitting low-income families that are proven to be successful and ready to for professional assistance in securing reimbursement contracts through health plans or healthcare systems.

“We’ve long known housing and health are tied when it comes to creating safer and healthier environments.  However, it’s one thing to be successful and it’s another to be sustainable,” said Eric Burmeister, Executive Director of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund. “As obvious as the results are for how this program saves money within the healthcare system and improves the lives of children and families, it really takes the focused effort and guidance of experts to help secure payment contracts with entities such as Medicaid and insurance companies. The timing for this award is perfect.”

The pro bono consulting award is one part of GHHI’s National Initiative for Asthma Reimbursement, which seeks to both increase the number of quality comprehensive asthma programs and the number of health plans serving Medicaid populations and/or state Medicaid programs that reimburse for these services, such as those being provided by HHDSM.

To date, HHDSM has educated 151 Des Moines families, provided supplies for 148, and repaired 49 homes – for example, replacing leaky plumbing and old carpet and providing HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum cleaners.  This focus is part of preventing future attacks by identifying and remediating in-home triggers like moisture, mold, and pests and educating families on proactive home maintenance strategies to keep their homes healthy.

Initial tracking suggests that the children of these families experienced a 74% decrease in emergency room visits room, six more symptom-free days every month, and reduced school and work absences for the child and their family members.

This is the first time an Iowa program has been selected. The other organization selected is Integra Community Care Network, LLC. of Rhode Island who is working with the State of Rhode Island Department of Health’s Home Asthma Response Program – a Centers for Disease Control and Environmental Protection Agency. 

To learn more about Healthy Homes Des Moines please visit HealthyHomesDesMoines.org.

Or contact Deb Kazmerzak, Coalition Manager for HHDSM, (515) 554-3788 or dgkazmerzak@gmail.com.     

To learn more about the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative please contact Kaletha Henry at

(410) 534-6447 or khenry@ghhi.org.

About Healthy Homes Des Moines

The HHDSM collaboration started in 2016 and today has more than a dozen nonprofit and public organizations from the housing and health sectors with the common goal of reducing asthma triggers in Des Moines neighborhood homes. The group includes Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, and Broadlawns Medical Center, as well as Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa Legal Aid, Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, the Polk County Health Department, the Child and Family Policy Center, Polk County Housing Trust Fund, Polk County Public Works, Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, and Telligen Community Initiatives.

About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative

The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is a national nonprofit dedicated to breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families. Formerly known as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, GHHI provides evidence-based direct services and technical assistance to create healthy, safe, and energy efficient homes. GHHI’s end goal is to achieve health, economic, and social outcomes for low-income families while reducing public and private healthcare costs. To learn more, please go to greenandhealthyhomes.org and follow us @HealthyHousing.

About the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation (ORA), Indoor Environments Division

ORA’s mission is to protect the public and the environment from the risks of radiation and indoor air pollution. The office coordinates across the Agency and with other federal, state, tribal, and non-governmental organizations to carry out its mission. ORIA develops criteria, standards, guidance, policies, and programs to limit unnecessary radiation exposure and control exposure to indoor air pollutants, including asthma triggers.