NAQC's policy work includes raising the visibility of quitlines among policymakers; seeking increased coverage for cessation services, including quitlines; promoting quitlines during policy changes; and advocating on behalf of quitlines when federal policies occur that impact quitlines.
Medicaid and Quitlines: A Toolbox for Expanding Medicaid Benefits and Gaining Reimbursement for QuitlinesIn July 2010, NAQC published this toolbox to encourage state quitlines, tobacco control programs and Medicaid agencies to increase the level of cessation services available to Medicaid members. The toolbox provides primers, describes current coverage, identifies challenges and provides examples of innovative programs from leading states.
Medicaid Reimbursement for Quitlines – NAQC Signs Letter to CMS
On June 14, 2010, NAQC joined with 35 other public health groups to submit a letter to CMS expressing strong support for permitting states to obtain federal Medicaid matching funds for the cost of tobacco cessation services provided by quitlines. Gaining matching funds is a key strategy for making quitlines more sustainable. NAQC plans to follow-up with CMS on this issue and will keep members apprised of progress.letter to CMS (PDF 440KB)
FDA & Tobacco Regulation – NAQC Submits Comments
On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed HR1256, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, into law (available at http://www.fda.gov/tobacco
). Under this law, FDA is authorized to regulate tobacco products. Shortly thereafter, FDA published a request for comments in the Federal Register, asking for the public’s input on approaches and actions the agency should consider to reduce the incidence and prevalence of tobacco product use and to protect the public health. FDA has asked for comments on 17 specific topics. NAQC plans to submit comments on at least two topics and encourages all U.S. members to consider submitting comments as well. The two topics of interest to NAQC are (1) smoking cessation; and (2) label statements and warnings. NAQC will circulate draft comments to members by mid-August for feedback.FDA’s call for commentsNAQC's comments to FDA
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – NAQC Submits Comments
On March 22, 2004, CMS published a new decision for national coverage of tobacco cessation counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. Although it is disappointing that the CMS decision does not allow reimbursement for quitlines, the decision is a tremendous success for tobacco cessation and is likely to increase the access of smokers ages 65 and older to cessation services in the US. In addition, the coverage of cessation under Medicare may encourage other payers to cover such services.NAQC believes that CMS's current legislative authority restricts the agency from allowing reimbursement to quitlines and is hopeful that these restrictions can be lifted in the future.
Key things to know:
- The quitline arm of the soon-to-be-published Medicare Stop Smoking Demonstration Program is showing very positive results, with very high preliminary quit rates and satisfaction rates among seniors.
- Medicare Advantage Plan has more flexibility than the traditional fee-for-service Medicare model in determining how services are provided. It is possible that they may be able to provide counseling via quitlines.
- Quitlines are a critical part of the health services delivery system for cessation.