No-Smoking Efforts Encouraged as Part of Basic HMO Medical Care

Between 1995 and 1997, the HMO Group, (now the Alliance of Community Health Plans [Alliance]), New Brunswick, N.J. worked to improve tobacco prevention and cessation activities at the Alliance's member health plans.

The Alliance is an organization of 27 group- and staff-model HMOs serving 7 million members in 25 states.

Under the grant, the Alliance recruited 13 of its member plans to participate in the project and selected a Tobacco Coordinating Liaison at each plan to direct project activities at the plan level.

Key Results

During the project, Alliance participating health plans:

  • Worked with clinic staff and physicians to identify patients who smoke. Most of the plans incorporated tobacco use as one of the vital signs clinicians use to assess patients' health status.
  • Developed various smoking cessation interventions. Several plans implemented the Tobacco Reduction, Assessment and Care intervention, a clinical team approach for delivering the "ask, advise, assist, and arrange" strategy recommended by the National Cancer Institute.
  • Implemented practice guidelines on tobacco cessation based on those developed by the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.
  • Worked on strategies to integrate smoking cessation into basic medical care.
  • Participated in various community tobacco control activities.