Systems Change & Behavioral Health Initiatives
Health Systems Change
The transformation of healthcare throughout our country has created new opportunities to implement systematic changes to reduce tobacco use, improve overall heath, and enhance services, all while reducing healthcare costs. As promoted by the CDC’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, GNAHEC works closely with local healthcare organizations to assist with the institutionalization of tobacco cessation interventions into routine clinical care. This process helps to ensure that every patient is screened for tobacco use, are advised to quit, and provided with the support and resources needed to stop using tobacco.
GNAHEC can provide support to organizations with their delivery system design, referral process, clinical information on tobacco cessation, as well as standardizing and delivering regular tobacco cessation education and training to the organization’s staff.
Hospitals and/or clinics in Florida can request their own automated referral form to electronically submit referrals for patients who are ready to quit within the next 30 days. Please click the link below for more details on the automated AHEC referral form.
Behavioral Health Initiatives
According to new findings from researchers at the CDC, Americans with mental health conditions have a 70% greater likelihood of smoking than the general population. Participation in tobacco cessation efforts while engaged in other substance abuse treatment has been associated with a 25% greater likelihood of long-term abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. GNAHEC works with behavioral health sites in Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties to provide cessation services to help clients quit using tobacco and support their recovery efforts.
Offering Continuing Education to Practicing Healthcare Providers & Training Health Professional Students
As part of the Tobacco Free Florida AHEC Cessation Program, GNAHEC offers educational programs based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs and on the Clinical Guidelines for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The primary goal of these continuing education programs are to strengthen the capacity of the healthcare system throughout our counties to deliver effective evidence-based tobacco use treatment and cessation services. GNAHEC offers a variety of educational options for healthcare providers to obtain FREE continuing education credits and to become proficient in delivering effective tobacco cessation care to their patients.
GNAHEC offers the following programs:
The Tobacco Free Florida AHEC Cessation Program also offers healthcare providers and health professions students access to a suite of online tobacco cessation education modules. These are readily available providing various CE/CME credits at no cost. Over 18+ educational modules are offered to receive the latest information about tobacco cessation and treatment. Most courses listed are in audio/visual format and approximately 60 minutes in length, making it time-efficient for our busy healthcare providers.
Free Tobacco Online Modules
Recommendations for Insurance Health Plan Providers
Insurance providers are in a unique position to reduce the burden of disease associated with tobacco use in their subscriber populations by adhering to the following recommendations:
Recommendation: Health insurance providers should include effective tobacco cessation treatments as paid or covered services for all subscribers.5
• Seven medications and three types of counseling are recommended to treat tobacco dependency. Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) are available over-the-counter (patch, gum, lozenge) and by prescription (nasal spray, inhaler), while bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) are two non-nicotine, prescription-only options.5
• The types of counseling include individual (either face-to-face or telephone) and group counseling.5
• Coverage should be provided for at least two cessation attempts per year.6
• Having access to all these treatments increases the likelihood of successful cessation among tobacco users.5 • Quit rates are higher when health insurance covers tobacco cessation treatments.5
Recommendation: Health insurance providers should remove arbitrary barriers that limit access to cessation treatments.5,7
• Barriers that deny or limit treatment include:
◊ Requiring co-pays;
◊ Limiting the length, frequency or amount spent on treatments;
◊ Requiring prior authorization;
◊ Requiring quit attempts with one medication before trying another;
◊ And requiring counseling to be paired with medication. 8
• Conflicting and confusing contract language also may leave subscribers uncertain if tobacco cessation treatments are covered, which could discourage them from seeking these treatments.9 • Removing barriers will encourage more people to use the benefit and successfully quit tobacco.5