Tobacco Cessation: Helping Members Quit

October 2021

According to the CDC, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths per year. 

In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, a meta-analysis study found a statistically significant association between smoking and the severity of outcomes among patients with COVID-19 (Journal of Medical Virology 2020 Aug 13: 10.1002).  Neighborhood’s participating providers play an important role in supporting tobacco users and their efforts to quit.

Neighborhood’s annual Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey asks Medicaid adult members to report on their experiences with their health plan and with health care services in different settings. The CAHPS survey covers a variety of topics such as communication with health care providers and the ease of accessing health care services, including the following questions related to Medical Assistance with Smoking and Tobacco Use Cessation:

  • Do you now smoke cigarettes or use tobacco every day, some days, or not at all?
  • In the last 6 months, how often were you advised to quit smoking or using tobacco by a doctor or other health care provider in your plan?
  • In the last 6 months, how often was medication recommended or discussed by a doctor or health care provider to assist you with quitting smoking or using tobacco?
  • In the last 6 months, how often did your doctor or health care provider discuss or provide methods and strategies other than medication to assist you with quitting smoking or using tobacco?

Overall results from Measurement Year (MY) 2019 and 2020 CAHPS surveys show the following:

CAHPS Survey Question MY 2019 Results         MY 2020 Results
Members who use tobacco who were advised to quit 85.99% 82.07%
Providers discussed cessation medications
Providers discussed strategies to quit 61.15% 64.46 %

The findings from the CAHPS survey indicates a small decline in the MY 2020 survey question as to whether members were advised to quit.  Rates for the questions concerning whether the member discussed medications and other strategies to quit by a doctor or health care provider held constant or improved.

Continuing to discuss strategies to quit, asking patients about tobacco use, advising them to quit and providing them with information regarding tobacco cessation and resources will improve the health and wellness of our members and is very much appreciated by Neighborhood.

More Information

Due to a decline in enrollment, Neighborhood’s Quit for Life Tobacco Cessation Program will end in 2022. To obtain tobacco cessation assistance for all your patients, advise them to call Rhode Island’s Nicotine Helpline at 1-800-Quit-Now.

CAHPS® is a registered trademark of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)