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NAQC Public-Private Partnership Initiative


Public-private partnerships can be a viable option for ensuring quitline sustainability and ensuring access to evidence-based services for all tobacco users wanting to quit tobacco. The NAQC public-private partnership initiative, established in December 2011 and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strives to provide states with the knowledge, resources, and technical assistance to successfully establish partnerships with both private and public insurers. Ultimately, partnerships with insurance  providers  lead to insurers contracting for quitline services, as well as, providing  comprehensive cessation coverage for their members.

States currently participating in the initiative include: Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Washington and Utah. To learn more about each of the state’s focus, staff leads and contact information hereFor a  comprehensive summary of state’s experiences, successes and challenges, please see A Promising Practices Report - Public-Private Partnership Initiative: Working to Advance Cessation Coverage among Private and Public Insurers.

Orientating Staff to the Work

The Orientation checklist serves as a training guide for staff interested in pursuing public-private partnerships to sustain and increase access to state quitline services.  The suggested activities and readings will assist staff in gaining an understanding of the health insurance industry, the Affordable Care Act recommendations, assessing tobacco cessation coverage, engaging and educating stakeholders, identifying strategies and implementing  different cost sharing models.   The guide is structured to allow staff  to tailor their  learning experience based on their individual needs and time allowance.  

Getting Started

Forming public-private partnerships can be challenging and time consuming, however states that have dedicated staff to the work, engaged internal and external leadership, taken the time to  conduct a comprehensive cessation coverage assessment,  and develop a plan to  educate and engage key stakeholders have had the most success. 

The following describes the process in 3 phases, however, depending on the state’s environment the phases ma y not necessarily be executed linearly or independently of each other. However, Phase I must be completed before proceeding to Phase II or III.

Phase I: Cessation Coverage Assessment

Conducting an assessment of your state’s cessation coverage is critical to developing an action plan or strategies to engage partners in cost-sharing. Some of the key components of an assessment include a state’s tobacco prevalence rate, insurance distribution (the percentage of publically and privately insured (self- and fully-insured)), cessation coverage by individual health plans, quitline utilization by largest health plans, the state’s political environment and key stakeholders .

To learn how to assess your state’s health plan performance and its readiness in developing public-private partnerships, the webinar "PHASE I: ASSESSING AND BUILDING SUPPORT FOR HEALTH PLAN COVERAGE FOR QUITLINE SERVICES” describes primary assessment tools and their application. Topics include: Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS), the eValue8 Request for Information, Quitline data, interviewing health plans and assessing your state’s support at the administrative level. Emphasis is also placed on identifying key stakeholders for leveraging support for health plan engagement.

Additionally, the State Cessation Coverage Assessment worksheet, a tool to assist states in the completing a comprehensive state assessment, outlines the key components and resources for accessing the information.

Phase I Resources - click here.

Phase II: Developing and Implementing a Plan

Once a state has completed the cessation coverage assessment and identified key stakeholders (Phase I), the next step is to convene stakeholders to collaboratively develop a state action plan. Information gathered through the state’s assessment process  is shared among stakeholders to build a common understanding of the strengths and gaps of cessation coverage within the state. Through a facilitated process, stakeholders collaboratively identify priorities and strategies  to develop an action plan to engage public and private insurers in  providing tobacco cessation coverage and ultimately covering the cost of quitline services for their members. 

To learn more about the process, the webinar "PHASE II: DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING A PLAN TO EXPAND HEALTH PLAN COVERAGE OF QUITLINE SERVICES” provides an overview of building  partnerships based on shared goals, utilizing assessment findings to develop a strategic action plan, and promoting  support  among  all stakeholders that can generate "early wins.”

Phase II Resources - click here.

Phase III: Building Support for Tobacco Cessation Coverage Through Promotion, Education, and Return-on-Investment (ROI)

The promotion of comprehensive evidence-based cessation services, educating employers and insurers on the availability of quitline services and demonstrating the cost-benefit of providing cessation services can be instrumental in engaging both public and private insurers. During this phase of the process, attention must be given to educating health plans, large employers, purchasing groups and brokers on the importance of evidence-based cessation services and demonstrating the ROI.

To learn more about building support for tobacco cessation coverage, the webinar "PHASE III: BUILDING SUPPORT FOR TOBACCO CESSATION COVERAGE THROUGH PROMOTION, EDUCATION, AND RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT(ROI)" identifies messaging and strategies to combat health plan and employer opposition to providing cessation coverage. Additional materials and resources for educating health plans and employers are provided below.

Phase III Resources
 - click here.

Upcoming Events

Learning opportunities to build staff’s capacity in establishing quitline public-private partnerships will be posted here as they become available.

Public-Private Partnership Initiative: State as an Employer Discussion Group
A facilitated peer-to-peer monthly discussion group focusing on improving cessation coverage for public and private insurers (delete state as an employer) is held every second Thursday  of the month at 12:00 p.m. (ET).  The discussion group offers  participants and opportunity to have in-depth discussions about specific aspects of the work and to problem-solve.  The format of the calls are informal and are typically topic specific. For more information, contact Tracey Strader at  

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