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Welcome address
  1. CARMELLA BOCCHINO
  1. American Association of Health Plans
  2. 1129 20th Street NW, Suite 600
  3. Washington, DC 20036, USA;
  4. cbocchino{at}aahp.org

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    Addressing tobacco in managed care: Partnering for success

    On behalf of the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) and the National Technical Assistance Office (NTAO) of the Addressing Tobacco in Managed Care Program, welcome to the first annual Addressing Tobacco in Managed Care national conference. This conference was made possible through an educational grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This conference is one of many activities undertaken by AAHP through the coordinated efforts of the Addressing Tobacco in Managed Care Program’s NTAO—a collaboration with the Prudential Center for Health Care Research (PCHCR) and the Health Alliance Plan (HAP).

    The NTAO was designed to lead activities that provide the resources and tools necessary for health plans to implement tobacco prevention and cessation programmes. We are currently working with health plans to determine the best approaches for designing, implementing, fine-tuning, and evaluating tobacco prevention and cessation programmes and systems. Key activities that AAHP, PCHCR and HAP will be undertaking include the following.

    • Developing a formal network of key contacts throughout managed care organisations

    • Creating and managing a resource centre to disseminate information and materials to the network

    • Publishing a quarterly newsletter

    • Providing technical assistance on requests from health plans through consultation, teleconferences, and occasional site visits

    • Training sessions at regional conferences periodically throughout the year and at workshops that coincide with other managed care conferences

    • An annual awards programme to recognise noteworthy programmes (see pages S55–S58).

    • Research links with the national programme office to inform researchers of new opportunities and developments.

    The NTAO will be working closely with the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research, which is serving as the national programme office for the Addressing Tobacco in Managed Care Program. The University of Wisconsin and the national programme office will be awarding evaluation and planning grants over the next several years to managed care organisations, group practices, and academic and professional research centres. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has committed $6.7 million for these research efforts. There is now a place for health plans and professionals to gain information on the design, implementation and evaluation of successful tobacco prevention efforts in the managed care setting.

    I should like to recognise the efforts of some of the staff from AAHP who have worked diligently, both in the National Technical Assistance Office, as well as on this programme. They include Barbara Lardy, department director for medical affairs, Craig Carlson, senior manager of public health, prevention and community outreach, and Danielle Skripak, NTAO program manager. Other colleagues have also demonstrated their commitment to tobacco cessation. I should also like to thank Dan Wolfson, president and chief executive officer of The HMO Group, whose efforts we both applaud and enthusiastically support.

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