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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, 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.

The initiative launched December 2011, providing all NAQC members with access to information through a 3-part "Building Public-Private Partnerships” webinar series and resources and tools available on the NAQC website. States  can  receive additional support through discussion groups and one-one-one technical assistance. States currently  participating in the initiative include: Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington and Utah. To learn more about each of the state’s efforts click  here.

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.

To learn about state’s experiences in applying the information, please see A Promising Practices Report --Public-Private Partnership Initiative: Working to Advance Cessation Coverage among Private and Public Insurers.

A Guide for Working with Employers to Provide Tobacco Cessation Coverage and Purchase Quitline Services”
provides information and easy-to-access resources to state health departments and their partners who are interested in improving cessation coverage and utilization of the quitlines among employers in their states.  This guide includes an overview of the types of employers and other groups who purchase health benefits for employees and outlines the key processes that need to occur to successfully build cost-sharing partnerships with employers to improve cessation coverage and utilization of quitlines for treatment services.

Getting Started

Forming public-private partnerships can be challenging and time consuming, however states have demonstrated success by taking the time to plan, educate and engage key stakeholders, including both private and private insurers in the process. 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  monthly discussion group focusing on improving cessation coverage for state employees 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 Deb Osborne at  

Archived Public-Private Partnership (PPP)Discussion Group Calls and Webinars  

PPP Discussion Group Call - The Evolving Cessation Evidence Base: Implications for Our Practice, Our Policies and Our Reach

This discussion focused on states’ successes and challenges of building internal support for public-private partnership efforts and contracting with experts in the field, dedicating FTE or utilizing interns to help advance the work. The discussion kicked-off with Arizona, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina sharing their experiences followed by other Initiative states sharing their experiences.

Agenda, objectives, and slides are available here (this page is accessible my members only). 

Discussion Group Call - Expanding Cessation Coverage and Supporting State Quitline Capacity: 2014 CDC Best Practices Recommendations  

After participating in this discussion listeners were able to:

  • Identify ways 2014 Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control recommendations can support a state’s public-partnership cost-sharing efforts.
  • Identify different approaches to working with employers, public and private insurers.
  • Identify ways to offer quitline services to populations with the highest needs. 
Agenda, objectives, and slides are available here (this page is accessible my members only).

Discussion Group Call - Expanding Cessation Coverage and Supporting State Quitline Capacity: Engaging Brokers and Leveraging the HHS Guidelines and Premium Differentials


  • Participants gained an understanding of how brokers and their professional associations can assist in promoting comprehensive cessation coverage among employers. 
  • Participants were able to identify resources for educating employers and brokers on comprehensive cessation coverage.
  • Participants gained an understanding of how to leverage the premium differential  and HHS guidelines in promoting the cost-sharing of quitline services among private payers. 
Agenda, objectives, and slides are available here (this page is accessible my members only).

Educational Webinars
PPP Webinar: Tobacco Cessation Coverage: Strategies to Engage Employers

Tobacco cessation treatment is the single most cost-effective health benefit an employer can provide to its employees. The CDC estimates that companies spend $3,856 per smoker per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity. A growing number of employers across the country have committed to providing evidence-based cessation treatment for their employees through the use of quitlines. Participants were able to learn first-hand from an employer, health insurer and insurance broker about how they implemented and benefited from offering cessation coverage while also meeting the Affordable Care Act requirements.

Agenda, objectives, and slides are available
here (this page is accessible my members only).

PPP Webinar - States Advance Quitline Sustainability
As participants of the NAQC public-private partnership initiative, eleven states have worked for over two years to expand tobacco cessation coverage and sustainability of their state quitlines. This webinar presentation provided a snapshot of the different foci and strategies employed by five states.  North Carolina shared their strategies for engaging a county government, a not-for-profit and a large health plan in contracting for quitline services.  Massachusetts presented on how they leveraged  disparities among cessation coverage to improve coverage for all state employees.  Kentucky shared how they expanded access to NRT through employer contracts with the quitline vendor  and  their  long-term strategy for  cost-sharing quitline services.  Arizona shared how they dedicated staff for their partnership efforts and the focus of staff’s work. And, Texas shared their experience  working with the state’s Business Group on Health and  collaborations with Community Programs. 

Agenda, objectives, and slides are available here (this page is accessible my members only).

Engaging Health Plans and Employers in Purchasing Quitline Services and Improving Access
This webinar addressed the goals outlines in NAQC’s paper on 
Engaging Health Plans and Employers in Purchasing Quitline Services. Participants learned about ways states have used legislation, quitline eligibility requirements and engagement strategies to improve access to cessation services, including access to quitline services for public and private health plans. Participants will also learned about resources developed by NAQC and states.
North Carolina Quitline Partnership Plan 2016
Kentucky Cessation Coverage Legislation

Utah Health Plan Assessment:
-Utah Health Plan Survey Cover Letter
-Utah Health Plan Survey Follow-up Correspondence

Agenda, objectives, and slides are available here (this page is accessible my members only).

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