Smoking is highly prevalent among low-income Medicaid beneficiaries and tobacco-cessation benefits are generally available. A newly published study examined the extent to which physicians provide advice to Medicaid patients about quitting. Data from the 2014-2015 Nationwide Adult Medicaid Consumer Assessment of Health Plans survey were merged with state Medicaid policy variables and analyzed.
· Almost one third (29%) of adult Medicaid beneficiaries smoke.
· Almost four fifths of smokers with a personal doctor (77%) say their doctor at least sometimes advised quitting and almost half of smokers discussed cessation medications (48%), or another strategy, such as counseling (42%).
· Smokers’ ratings of satisfaction with their physicians and their health plans rose as the frequency of smoking recommendations increased.
· Those in Medicaid managed care plans smoked more, but received less advice about cessation medications than those in fee-for-service care.
The researchers concluded that findings indicate that patients value prevention-oriented advice and give better ratings to physicians and health plans that offer more support and advice about cessation.
Source: Holla et al. (2018). Physicians’ Recommendations to Medicaid Patients About Tobacco Cessation. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Oct 18. pii: S0749-3797(18)32126-3. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.07.013. [Epub ahead of print]