Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in New York state. A new partnership between the North Country Healthy Heart Network and Adirondack Health looks to change that.
An outgrowth of the Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free NY initiative, the partnership ensures tobacco-using patients are offered evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment during every visit with their healthcare provider. Studies show that by providing counseling and medication to tobacco-using patients, health outcomes improve and healthcare expenses are reduced. In fact, patients who work with their healthcare provider to quit using tobacco are two to three times more likely to succeed.
“Tobacco addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease,” said Linda Savarie, RN, CDE, CTTS and patient education program coordinator at Adirondack Health’s Decker Community Learning Center. “Healthcare providers must screen for tobacco use on every visit. Patients will listen, because they see their providers as credible and reliable sources of information.”
Health systems across New York state are pursuing the Triple Aim of improving population health, enhancing the quality of patient care, and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare. According to the NYS Department of Health, tobacco use kills more than 28,000 New Yorkers every year, and afflicts more than 500,000 New Yorkers with serious diseases directly attributable to tobacco use. Treating tobacco dependence with evidence-based practice can have a positive impact on other chronic conditions as well, including diabetes, hypertension and COPD.
“Integration of tobacco dependence treatment makes fiscal sense for individual health systems like Adirondack Health and for the state of New York,” said Ann Morgan, North Country Healthy Heart Network’s executive director. “And, it improves patient satisfaction, since 70 percent of smokers want to quit.”
Tobacco-related illness costs the state more than $10.4 billion in medical expenses annually, including $3.3 billion in Medicaid costs. Tobacco use treatment is a low-cost intervention aligned with the shift to value-based care, and can cut costs borne by counties.
Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York is a network of professionals who provide resources to help health facilities and behavior health organizations across the state deliver more consistent, effective, evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment to patients and clients.
To learn more, visit www.heartnetwork.org or call Linda Savarie in Adirondack Health’s Decker Community Learning Center at 518-897-2274.
North Country Healthy Heart Network subcontracts with Glens Falls Hospital to implement the NYS Department of Health’s Health Systems for Tobacco Free NY grant in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties.