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Free Web-Based Referral Service for Evidence-Based Tobacco Cessation

 

Join hundreds of health professionals throughout California who are referring their patients quickly and easily to the free, evidence-based, tobacco cessation services of the California Smokers’ Helpline via our web-based referral service.

Studies have shown that smokers who use Helpline counseling are twice as likely to quit as those who don’t. Seventy percent of smokers visit a physician at least once a year and according to the U.S. Public Health Service Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: Clinical Practice Guideline, 2008 Update, “Telephone quitline counseling is effective with diverse populations and has broad reach. Therefore, both clinicians and health care delivery systems should ensure patient access to quitlines and promote quitline use.”

Listen to Jyothi Marbin, MD, of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, and JoAnne Roy, LVN, of San Franciso General Hospital talk about the benefits of the Helpline's cessation services and web-based referral service as well as successful Helpline clients talk about their experience:

Register now for the Helpline's web-based referral service and start referring your patients quickly and easily:

  Register for Web-Based Referral

The California Smokers Helpline Celebrates National Nurses Week

 

describe the imageDuring National Nurses Week, the California Smokers' Helpline would like to extend a special thank you to nurses throughout California. As the #1 trusted profession in the U.S., according to annual Gallup polls, nurses are in the perfect position to treat the #1 preventable cause of death, illness and suffering in California--tobacco use. When health care providers provide brief, simple advice about quitting smoking, they increase the likelihood that patients will quit and remain quit a year later.

The landmark 1988 California Tobacco Tax and Health Promotion Act (Proposition 99) made California the first state to implement a comprehensive tobacco control program. Since its inception 20 years ago, the California Tobacco Control Program has been charged with reducing tobacco use across the state and with decreasing tobacco-related disease and death by protecting Californians from secondhand smoke.

Significant progress has been made since 1988 as tobacco consumption has dramatically decreased and health outcomes have improved. Even lung and bronchial cancers have declined much faster in California than in the rest of the United States. Yet despite this progress, over 3.6 million Californians still smoke and prevalence is still high in certain groups.

According to the Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence Clinical Practice Guideline, 2008 Update, “tobacco use presents a rare confluence of circumstances:

  1. a highly significant health threat;
  2. a disinclination among clinicians to intervene consistently; and
  3. the presence of effective interventions.

This last point is buttressed by evidence that tobacco dependence interventions, if delivered in a timely and effective manner, significantly reduce the smokers risk of suffering from smoking-related disease. Indeed, it is difficult to identify any other condition that presents such a mix of lethality, prevalence, and neglect, despite effective and readily available interventions.”

We invite nurses throughout California to leverage new technologies to help alleviate this significant public health burden by registering for the Helpline's web-based referral service at http://www.nobutts.org/referral/register.aspx

Thank you for your continuing efforts to lead the way for your patients, your colleagues, and organizations within the health care industry.

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Health Insurers Must Cover Evidence-Based Cessation Treatments

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  May 2, 2014
CONTACT:    Peter Hamm, 202-296-5469

Obama Administration Tells Health Insurers They Must Cover Evidence-Based Treatments to Help Smokers Quit 

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration today has taken a much-needed step to help smokers and other tobacco users quit by making clear the minimum, evidence-based tobacco cessation services that health insurers are required to cover under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Today the Administration posted, in a Frequently Asked Questions format, a clear statement that tells insurers they must cover, without cost-sharing, screening for tobacco use and tobacco cessation services for those who use tobacco products that includes at least two cessation attempts per year.  The Administration stated that coverage should include four tobacco counseling sessions of at least 10 minutes each (including telephone, group and/or individual counseling) and all Food and Drug Administration-approved tobacco cessation medications, including both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

This direction to insurers is an essential step toward fulfilling the promise of the law to help more tobacco users quit.  It establishes a minimum standard for what insurers must cover and provides tobacco users with an important tool to help them get the required coverage and treatment.  It is critical that the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal departments effectively enforce this standard and ensure that insurers provide the necessary coverage, especially given the evidence that many so far have failed to do so.

The ACA requires all new private health insurance plans to cover preventive health services recommended with an A or B grade by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, with no cost-sharing such as co-pays.  Tobacco cessation treatments received an A grade, with the task force finding that a combination of medication and counseling is most effect at helping tobacco users quit.

However, evidence indicates that many health plans are not covering the cessation services that have been proven to help tobacco users quit.  Both this year’s Surgeon General’s report on smoking and a 2012 report by Georgetown University researchers found that tobacco cessation treatment coverage mandated by the ACA varies significantly across private health insurance contracts.  The document issued today will help ensure that tobacco users have evidence-based coverage for cost-free medication and counseling that can help them quit successfully and that is required by the law.  

The new Surgeon General’s report released in January (The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress) underscored the importance of doing more to help tobacco users quit.  The report found that smoking is even more hazardous and takes an even greater toll on the nation’s health than previously reported.  It found that smoking annually kills 480,000 Americans – causing about one in every five deaths – and costs at least $289 billion in medical bills and other economic losses.  As the Surgeon General’s report notes, in 2011 nearly 70 percent of adult smokers indicated they wanted to stop smoking and 43 percent had made a quite attempt.

Noting that the “current rate of progress in tobacco control is not fast enough,” the report calls for a number of specific actions, including “fulfilling the opportunity of the Affordable Care Act to provide access to barrier-free proven tobacco use cessation treatment including counseling and medication to all smokers.”

A 2012 study conducted for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids by Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute found that many health insurance plans were failing to provide the coverage mandated by the ACA for treatments to help tobacco users quit. Specifically, researchers found that only four of the 39 private plans analyzed clearly covered a full-range of evidence-based tobacco cessation services (i.e., individual, group and phone counseling and both prescription and over-the-counter tobacco cessation medications). Contract language for these plans often contained vague or conflicting language that made it impossible to determine which, if any, tobacco cessation services were covered. When the extent of coverage could be determined, many of these plans excluded coverage of prescription and/or OTC medications for tobacco cessation and excluded certain types of counseling. Also troubling, some of the plans analyzed impose cost-sharing requirements for tobacco cessation treatments.

The results of this study prompted the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups to call on federal officials to clarify to insurers that the full range of cessation services should be covered without cost sharing.  By doing so today, the Administration will help more smokers quit, saving lives and health care dollars.

Smokers with Mental Illness Want to Quit, Too

 

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Smokers with mental illness and substance use disorders want to quit and can quit successfully.  And behavioral health professionals can help. Tobacco cessation is a key component of many individuals’ recovery and should be a priority issue for every healthcare provider.

Tobacco use among populations with behavioral health conditions is a critical health disparity. Individuals living with behavioral health conditions are dying 25 years earlier than the general population. The major causes of death are tobacco-related cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.

Behavioral health professionals are uniquely positioned to help their clients who smoke quit because they are often the clinician the client sees most, and who knows the client best. In addition, behavioral health professionals:

  • Are trained in mental health and/or substance abuse treatment
  • Are able to coordinate pharmacotherapy and behavioral/counseling treatment; and
  • Can identify and address any changes in psychiatric symptoms during the quit attempt.

Talk to your patients and offer them assistance in quitting.  Many of the treatment strategies that work for smokers without behavioral health issues (e.g., cessation pharmacotherapy and behavioral counseling) can work for this clientele as well. 

For additional help and resources, click here to download the following free continuing education and materials developed by the California Smokers’ Helpline:

  • Fact Sheet: Tobacco Cessation for Smokers with Mental Illness or Substance Use Disorders.
  • Slide Presentation: Tobacco Cessation and Behavioral Health
  • Online CE Training: Tobacco Cessation and Behavioral Health. Continuing education credits available to physicians, nurses, physician assistants, MFTs, LCSWs, and NAADAC certified counselors.

Download Materials Now!

Free Webinar for Behavioral Health Professionals

 

Older Man WebThis free webinar, produced by the National SBIRT ATTC, NORC at the University of Chicago, The BIG Initiative, and NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals, will address how to treat tobacco dependence in the health care setting and is based on the current Public Health Service clinical practice guideline: “Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence.”

Within this, an emphasis is placed on how to motivate the smoker not currently ready to make a quit attempt and how to work in partnership with a telephone quit line. Additional information is provided about smokers who also have a mental illness and/or other substance use disorder.

Title:     Treatment of Tobacco Dependence in the Healthcare Setting: Current Best Practices

Date:     Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Time:    11 am to 12:30 PM (PDT)

Register now: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/443052014

Free CE Credit: Approved by NAADAC, NBCC, and NASW, accredited by the American Probation & Parole Association, and accepted by OASAS for 1.5 free CEs by passing an online quiz. CEUs are not available for this webinar.

Smokers with Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders Can Quit!

 

ShatteredLivesImage 288x256People with mental illness and substance use disorders want to quit smoking and can quit successfully.  And mental health professionals can help. 

Until a few years ago, it was not common for people with mental illness or substance use disorders to be treated for their tobacco dependence. People with behavioral health conditions have only recently been identified by tobacco control and cessation professionals as a priority, even though their smoking rates are 2-4 times higher than in the general population (Lasser et al., 2000).

The 2006 Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness report issued by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, found that persons with serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier and suffer increased medical co-morbidity.  They often die from tobacco related diseases and are more likely to die from these diseases than from alcohol use.

The need to help this clientele quit tobacco is clear.  Some strongly held myths have stood in the way of progress in this area.  Fortunately, a growing body of research is debunking these myths, making way for new interventions. 

The California Smokers’ Helpline has developed the following free resources to help you learn more about smokers with mental illness and substance use disorders and how to help them. Fact Sheet: Tobacco Cessation for Smokers with Mental Illness or Substance Use Disorders.

  • Slide Presentation: Tobacco Cessation and Behavioral Health
  • Online CE Training: Tobacco Cessation and Behavioral Health. Continuing education credits available to physicians, nurses, physician assistants, MFTs, LCSWs, and NAADAC certified counselors.
Download Materials Now!

California Smokers' Helpline Launches Web-Based Referral Service

 

The California Smokers’ Helpline just made it easier for health professionals to refer their patients who smoke to the Helpline for free, evidence-based, tobacco cessation services in multiple languages.

Health professionals can now register online for the Helpline’s new web-based referral service. Once approved, it’s easy and convenient to refer patients who want to quit smoking with the Helpline’s online referral service – just select the provider name from the drop-down menu, enter the patient’s name, date of birth, phone number and preferred language, obtain patient consent, and save!

Studies have shown that smokers who use Helpline counseling are twice as likely to quit as those who don’t. Seventy percent of smokers visit a physician at least once a year and according to the U.S. Public Health Service Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: Clinical Practice Guideline, 2008 Update, “Telephone quitline counseling is effective with diverse populations and has broad reach. Therefore, both clinicians and health care delivery systems should ensure patient access to quitlines and promote quitline use.”

“At Children's Hospital Oakland, we are big fans of the Helpline's new web-based referral system,” says Jyothi Marbin, MD, with the Department of Primary Care. “I have found the web portal very quick and easy to use, and I love that I get immediate confirmation so I know my referral has been received. I also train other providers on how to refer patients to the Helpline using the web-referral system, and we all appreciate that it's so user-friendly and simple to use.”

To hear more about the benefits of Helpline services, please listen to Dr. Patricia Essilfie of St. John's Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles:

Established in 1992 by researchers at the University of California San Diego, Moores Cancer Center, the California Smokers’ Helpline provides free, personalized and confidential services to 40,000 Californians each year from diverse communities throughout the state. Quitting assistance is provided in English (800-NO-BUTTS), Spanish (800-45-NO-FUME), Korean (800-556-5564), Vietnamese (800-778-8440), and Mandarin and Cantonese (800-838-8917). Specialized services are also available for pregnant smokers, tobacco chewers and teens. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Helpline is funded by the California Department of Public Health and First 5 California.

Encourage your patients to quit on the Great American Smokeout

 

Top 10 Tips English. webThe Great American Smokeout on November 21 is a perfect time to encourage your patients who smoke to make a quit attempt. To help smokers stay quit, the Helpline is offering its Top 10 Tips to Help Smokers Quit flyers in six languages:

Quit attempts are vitally important to population-based cessation as most tobacco users must try repeatedly to quit before they succeed. Fortunately, 70% of smokers say they want to quit. And, asking and advising a patient to quit can actually double the chance that he or she will try. 

So, take this opportunity on the Great American Smokeout to ask all your patients if they smoke, advise them to quit, and provide them with our Top 10 Tips to Help Smokers Quit flyer. For smokers who need additional support, refer them to 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887) for free help and a plan to quit.

Download Flyers Now!

What's in a Call? Listen to Recorded Helpline Counseling Calls

 

African American MaleHave you ever wanted to listen in on a counseling call of the California Smoker's Helpline to hear first-hand how our telephone-based services work? Now you can!

We have recorded a series of simulated calls to give you a better understanding of each step in the Helpline's evidence-based counseling protocol, including:

  • Initial intake
  • Medi-Cal process
  • Building motivation
  • Setting a quit date
  • Quitting aids
  • Planning ahead
  • Dealing with withdrawal

You can also download presentation slides delivered by the Helpline's Clinical Director, Gary Tedeschi, PhD, which provide a more in-depth overview of the Helpline's counselor training program and counseling protocol.

Download Info Now!

 We hope this information helps you feel confident in referring your patients who smoke to the California Smokers' Helpline.

Quitting Smoking Just Got Easier for Medi-Cal Members

 

New MIQS badge 96dpiMedi-Cal members who call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS can now receive a free, four-week supply of nicotine patches delivered directly to their home. Callers must be 18 or older, have a valid Medi-Cal ID, and enroll in Helpline counseling. If a caller has contraindications, the Helpline will seek medical approval before dispensing.

The Helpline is a free service that helps tobacco users quit. Studies have shown that smokers who use Helpline counseling are twice as likely to quit as those who don’t, and that those who use both counseling and a quitting aid such as nicotine patches quit at the highest rates.

“Patches have been a covered Medi-Cal benefit for some time, but were not easy for members to obtain,” said Dr. Cathy McDonald, an Oakland pediatrician who refers smoking parents to the Helpline. “They had to get a prescription from a doctor, participate in an approved quit smoking program, and then go to the pharmacy to have their prescription filled. Research has shown that barriers like these reduce quitting.”

The new patch service is expected to generate increased interest in quitting statewide. A similar service available to callers from Los Angeles County more than doubled Helpline calls from that county since it took effect in 2011.

According to recent estimates, the prevalence of smoking among adult Medi-Cal members is more than 36 percent higher than in the general population in California. Nationwide, the cost of treating tobacco-related illness is estimated at 11 percent of total Medicaid program costs.

“The most cost-effective way to reduce health care costs is to help smokers quit,” said Dr. Steven Schroeder, Director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at UCSF. “Better access to effective treatment means more Medi-Cal members will quit, leading to better health for members and economic savings for the state.”

As an added incentive to use the Helpline, members can receive a $20 gift card bonus. To be eligible, callers must ask for the gift card, have a valid Medi-Cal ID, and complete the first counseling session.

Both the free patches and gift cards are expected to be available through December 2015 as part of the Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking (MIQS) project. MIQS is funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Affordable Care Act.

About the Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking project

The Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking (MIQS) project provides incentives to help members quit smoking. It is funded entirely by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). California received a CMS grant to increase the number of Medi-Cal members who use the California Smokers’ Helpline. The grant pays for incentives, counseling services, statewide outreach, project administration, and evaluation. The ultimate aim of the project is to improve health and reduce costs by preventing tobacco-related disease. For more information on MIQS, visit www.caldiabetes.org.

Callers to the Smokers' Helpline receive free one-on-one support from trained cessation specialists, self-help materials and referral to local quit-smoking programs. It is open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Helpline has specialized services for pregnant smokers, tobacco chewers and teens. Services are available in multiple languages:

1-800-NO-BUTTS            English

1-800-45-NO-FUME        Spanish

1-800-838-8917               Mandarin & Cantonese

1-800-556-5564               Korean

1-800-778-8440               Vietnamese

The free patch and gift card offers are available through all of the phone lines above. For more information about Helpline services for Medi-Cal members, visit www.NoButts.org/Medi-Cal.

This communication made possible by funding from the California Department of Public Health and First 5 California
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