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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Medicaid anti-smoking program saved big money, study says

 

English: Percent increase of success for six m...

Image via Wikipedia Date 14 June 2010Source Fast Facts: Smoking Cessation, by Robert West and Saul Shiffman, p. 59

Medicaid anti-smoking program saved big money, study says

Excerpt from the 13 January Stateline Daily article

Numerous studies have shown that investments in programs aimed at helping people quit smoking reap significant long-term reductions in health care costs. Even so, fiscal stress has caused states to dramatically reduce spending on anything that does not yield immediate returns.

 
Now new data suggests that states may not have to wait so long for the returns. According to astudy conducted by George Washington University, a Massachusetts Medicaid program saved $3 in Medicaid hospitalization expenses for every dollar it invested in a comprehensive smoking cessation counseling and treatment program — and the savings accrued in the first 16 months of the program.
While not all Medicaid patients who underwent the treatment were able to quit smoking permanently, the group as a whole had far fewer hospital admissions for cardiovascular problems than it did before entering the program. According to the report, the annual medical savings attributable to even a brief reduction in smoking was $571 per participant, far outweighing the $183-per-person cost of the program.
“The good news from a state budget perspective is that even if people stop smoking temporarily, there can be immediate savings,” says Leighton Ku, one of the study’s authors. “From a public health perspective we’d like to help people stop smoking for good,” Ku says. “But the study showed a rapid reduction in the number of people having heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, and that led to immediate savings.”

January 15, 2012 - Posted by | Public Health | , , , ,

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