Tobacco control efforts in managed care: what do the doctors think?
- View All
OBJECTIVES: To use physician reports to evaluate their awareness of health plan tobacco control guidelines and cessation support coverage and to validate the extent to which health plan cessation support material had been disseminated and implemented in clinical settings. STUDY DESIGN: Comparison of survey responses of physicians with tobacco control activities reported by key informants in the health plans with which those physicians were associated. METHODS: A total of 100 primary care physicians in the care delivery organizations associated with 9 nonprofit health plans were randomly selected to receive a survey asking about their health plan's tobacco cessation guidelines, coverage, and support for clinician action. Their responses were compared to data reported by the plan with which they were associated. RESULTS: Responses were obtained from 91%. Although 88% were aware of their health plan's tobacco cessation guidelines, considerably fewer were correctly aware of whether the health plan covered medications and cessation classes or counseling. Physician reports of cessation supports during care bore little relationship to health plan reports of those supports. CONCLUSIONS: Physician reports may be a useful way to verify health plan dissemination and implementation of tobacco control activities. Even these relatively high-performing plans have ample room for further improvement.