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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Barriers to Utilizing Medicaid Smoking Cessation Benefits.

Monday, May 14, 2018  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Knox B, Mitchell S, Hernly E, Rose A, Sheridan H, Ellerbeck EF.
Barriers to Utilizing Medicaid Smoking Cessation Benefits.
Kans J Med. 2017 Nov 30;10(4):1-11. eCollection 2017 Nov.

Introduction:  Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Under the Affordable Care Act, Kansas Medicaid covers all seven FDA-approved smoking cessation therapies. However, it is estimated only 3% of Kansas Medicaid smokers use treatment compared to the national estimate of 10%. The objective is to determine systemic barriers in place that prevent optimal utilization of Medicaid smoking cessation benefits among KU Medical Center Internal Medicine patients. Methods:  For this quality improvement project, a population of 169 Kansas Medicaid smokers was identified who had been seen at the KU Internal Medicine Clinic from January 1, 2015 - February 16, 2016. Phone surveys were completed with 62 individuals about smoking status, interest in using smoking cessation treatment options, and awareness of Medicaid coverage of treatment. Results:  Of the 62 respondents, 24 (39%) were prescribed pharmacotherapy and 41 (66%) were interested in using smoking cessation treatment. There were eight who had quit smoking. Of the remaining 54 smokers, 31 (57%) were unaware that Medicaid would cover pharmacotherapy. Of 24 participants who received a prescription for pharmacotherapy, 13 (54%) were able to fill the prescription at no cost using the Medicaid benefit. Conclusions:  The majority of respondents were interested in using smoking cessation treatment yet three main barriers existed to using Medicaid smoking cessation benefits: physicians not prescribing treatment to patients, patients not aware of Medicaid coverage, and inadequate pharmacy filling. Improved physician and patient awareness of Medicaid coverage will facilitate more patients receiving smoking cessation therapy and ultimately quitting smoking.

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