Learning Objectives: Identify and prioritize the methods for establishing an outreach network comprised of community, state and national organizations to enhance communication and increase collaboration between diverse organizations serving various demographic populations.
Abstract: The Medicare Stop Smoking Program is a groundbreaking project funded through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that will test smoking cessation services as a covered Medicare benefit for those age 65 and older in seven states (Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wyoming) for one year. The information collected from the MSSP will help the federal government assess the feasibility and effectiveness of offering a reimbursable Medicare benefit in the future for smoking cessation services.
The goal of the Medicare Stop Smoking Program is to enroll 43,500 Medicare beneficiaries age 65 years or older who smoke from the seven study states. An intense media and community outreach campaign has been developed to reach this ambitious recruitment goal. One component of this outreach effort is the Healthy Aging National Outreach Network, which brings together senior, health and tobacco advocates to build support of the demonstration on a state and community level.
The Outreach Network consists of over 200 members representing such diverse groups as American Public Health Association, AARP, Area Agencies on Aging, American Lung Association, CDC Office on Smoking and Health, as well as representatives from hospitals, state health organizations and tobacco control groups.
The Outreach Network has communicated via MSSP-sponsored bimonthly national conference calls, a web-based listserv and bulletin board, and periodic newsletters.
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