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Health and Family Services Cabinet
CHFS Announces New Program for KyHealth Choices Members Who Use Kentucky Tobacco Quit Line

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, November 14, 2006  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Crace, 502) 564-6786  

    FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov.  14, 2006) – Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell today announced an innovative new program to offer nicotine replacement therapy to Medicaid members who take advantage of the Kentucky Tobacco Quit Line beginning Dec. 15.

“We are extremely pleased to offer smoking cessation support to Medicaid recipients, whose smoking rate tends to be higher than that of the general population,” said Secretary Birdwhistell. “This new program represents a unique partnership between Get Healthy Kentucky, Public Health and Medicaid. This is a crucial step in our fight to reduce smoking rates and improve the health status of our fellow Kentuckians.”

Through the initiative, the Department for Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program will provide coverage of nicotine replacement products at no cost to Medicaid members who enroll in Quit Line counseling. Products will be provided to all KyHealth Choices members. Those under 18 years old must obtain parental consent to enroll in Quit Line counseling and a doctor's prescription for nicotine replacement products.

“Encouraging more people to quit smoking is one of the core pieces of the Get Healthy Kentucky program and of the Cabinet's overall focus,” said Secretary Birdwhistell. “Through this program, we stress the importance of prevention and awareness, key components of Governor Fletcher’s Medicaid modernization initiative.”

Medicaid members outside the Passport region who want to take advantage of the program can do so by calling 1-800-QUIT NOW. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products -- including nicotine patches, gum and lozenges -- will be supplied through funding from additional tobacco settlement funds earmarked in the 2006 state budget for smoking prevention and cessation programs.

Once the member calls the Quit Line, a Quit Line counselor will work with the member to complete an individual assessment and develop a plan. The counselor also will be responsible for determining whether the caller is Medicaid-eligible and assigning appropriate NRT products. After this is complete, the member should receive NRT products within two business days.

 The counselors will conduct follow-up calls at three months, six months and one year to track participants’ progress and success rates. Additionally, DMS will compare current claims for respiratory illness, ear infections, heart attacks, stroke and cancer after the program has been in place one year.

According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, Medicaid recipients have an approximately 38 percent greater smoking prevalence than the overall U.S. adult population and they are disproportionately affected by tobacco-related disease and disability.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer this service to the Medicaid population,” said Irene Centers, manager of DPH’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program. “Becoming a nonsmoker is one of the single greatest benefits a person can do for their health. We encourage people to call Kentucky’s Tobacco Quit Line or contact their local health department about cessation resources in their community.”

Meanwhile, CHFS officials encourage all Kentuckians interested in quitting smoking to participate in the Great American Smokeout, a nationally recognized event that challenges people to stop using tobacco products for a day, on Nov. 16.

A national campaign initiated by the American Cancer Society in 1977, the Great American Smokeout raises public awareness of the benefits of becoming a nonsmoker and how to get help to quit smoking. The event has proven to be highly successful in influencing numerous people to kick the smoking habit.






Last Updated 11/14/2006