Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A “model” tobacco cessation benefit offered to Massachusetts’ Medicaid participants has produced an astounding 26% drop in smoking rates in only two and a half years, and has already been linked to decreases in heart attacks, hospitalizations for asthma and COPD, and a significant decrease in birth complications.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP) found that up to 38% fewer MassHealth cessation benefit users were hospitalized for heart attacks in the first year after using the benefit, and that 18% fewer benefit users visited the emergency room for asthma symptoms in the first year after using the benefit. Researchers also found that there were 12% fewer claims for adverse maternal birth complications since the benefit was implemented.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services said more than 75,000 people – a full 40% of MassHealth members who smoke – have used the benefit to try to quit smoking. Cost savings are being studied, and all indications suggest they will be significant.
“As the nation debates the future of its health care system, the national significance of this research cannot be understated.” said Robert J. Gould, PhD, President and CEO of Partnership for Prevention. “These findings demonstrate that prudent investments in preventive health today will have a dramatic and positive effect on our health care system tomorrow.”