CMS Launches Pilot Smoking Cessation Program for Medicare Beneficiaries
CMS yesterday announced the launch of a pilot project in seven states to test the best ways to help seniors stop smoking, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. The states -- Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wyoming -- were selected in part for having a large number of older smokers. The Medicare Stop Smoking Program will test several smoking cessation strategies, including counseling, nicotine patches, prescription drugs and educational materials (AP/Baltimore Sun, 11/22). Only beneficiaries ages 65 and older who are enrolled in Medicare Part B and live in one of the seven states will be permitted to participate. Participants, who can enroll by calling a toll-free number, will be assigned to receive free smoking cessation assistance through one of the strategies for one year. Smoking cessation is not a service Medicare currently covers. Results from the project will be released in 2005. CMS Administrator Tom Scully said, "With this study, we can learn what works best for seniors who want to quit smoking, and we can develop approaches that help seniors help themselves" (CMS release, 11/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.