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Can routine contact with healthcare professionals improve asthma?


What to look for on this episode of Smart Talk:

More than 26 million Americans suffer from asthma.  About 1.7 million seek treatment for asthma at hospital emergency rooms each year.

It disproportionately affects poor people. 

Asthma is a condition in which airways narrow, swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled.

A new study conducted by the Medicaid managed care company AmeriHealth Caritas — based in Philadelphia — found that asthma patients responded better to treatment and weren’t readmitted to the hospital as often if the patient engaged with a healthcare professional more often after being discharged from the hospital.

What makes this unique?

We’ll find out on Wednesday’s Smart Talk from Dr. Andrea Gelzer, the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Registered Nurse Karen Michael — both of AmeriHealth Caritas.

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Dr. Andrea Gelzer and Karen Michael

Also, Republican State Representative Bryan Cutler is the newly-elected Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. Cutler is the first House Leader from Lancaster County in almost a century.

The majority leader manages the daily operations of the majority party — Republicans in Pennsylvania’s case — on the state House floor. The majority leader acts as a spokesperson for the party’s policy positions, schedules the daily calendar, and helps direct the party’s overall legislative agenda.

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler joins us on Smart Talk Wednesday to discuss his new role and priorities.


State Representative Bryan Cutler

Scott LaMar
Scott LaMar

Scott LaMar has worked in both radio and television for more than four decades.

Currently, LaMar is the Host and Executive Producer of The Spark program on WITF-FM, 89.5 & 93.3 in Harrisburg, Pa.

Previously, LaMar was WITF TV’s Sr. Public Affairs producer and produced the station’s award-winning weekly public affairs TV program, Smart Talk.

In addition to his on-air duties, LaMar has moderated political candidate debates, including those for candidates running for Pennsylvania governor and the U.S. Senate and was a regular contributor to BBC World News TV before and after the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.

LaMar often emcees or moderates local events and has gone as far as California to emcee a national event.

The American Society of Civil Engineers honored LaMar with their national Excellence in Journalism award in 2020. He has been nominated for five Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards.

LaMar and The Spark have been recognized throughout the Central Pennsylvania community including ADVOZ Lancaster’s “Dignity in Dialogue Award”, the South-Central Assembly’s “Regional Citizen Award” and was named a “Humanitarian Hero” by The Humane Society of the United States/Pennsylvania.

A native of Coatesville, Pa., LaMar has also worked as a broadcast news anchor, sports play-by-play announcer and manager.

Read more by Scott LaMar