Dept. of Health Services: Wisconsin program awarded $9.2 million to help reduce smoking among BadgerCare Plus members

Contact: Beth Kaplan

(608) 266-1683

Partnership Grant Includes Outreach to Pregnant Smokers

MADISON—A Wisconsin partnership will receive $9.2 million over five years from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) to reduce smoking rates among Medicaid enrollees, with a special emphasis on pregnant smokers, state officials announced today.

The Striving to Quit initiative will target BadgerCare Plus members in two regions of the state and BadgerCare Plus high risk pregnant women in five counties. More than 8,000 adults and 3,000 pregnant women will be offered free smoking cessation counseling through the statewide Quit Line managed by University of Wisconsin’s Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI) and the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation’s (WWHF) First Breath program. Both programs are funded in part by the Department of Health Services (DHS). Participants will receive incentives for making attempts to quit and achieving their goals, which will be verified using carbon monoxide testing. Implementation will begin in January.

“This grant focuses smoking cessation efforts exclusively on our Medicaid population, provides follow-up counseling for women who stop smoking during pregnancy to prevent relapse after delivery, and trains medical assistants to screen for smoking and help enrollees access the Quit Line,” said DHS Secretary Dennis G. Smith. “This initiative will help improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in our Medicaid program.”

“Some 70 percent of smokers want to quit, and this grant will helps thousands of Medicaid enrollees access the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line and succeed,” said Dr. Michael Fiore, UW-CTRI director.

According to Sue Ann Thompson, WWHF President, “Wisconsin ranks above the national average for pregnant smokers, with more than 9,000 low-income women who smoke during pregnancy. This grant will help us target these women with a proven smoking cessation program, resulting in healthier moms and babies and lower health care costs to the state.”