Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement Working to Earn New York a Higher Grade for Tobacco Cessation

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New York State Receives "D" in new ALA Report

(New York, NY) -- The American Lung Association's (ALA) State of Tobacco Control 2015 gave New York mixed grades for current tobacco control efforts. While the report awarded the state an "A" for state smoking restrictions, and a "B" for tobacco taxes, the ALA graded the state an "F" for tobacco prevention spending and a "D" for access to cessation services. The mixed review illustrates the state's success with policies on clean air and taxes but highlights a need to advance prevention and cessation programs. Citing limitations around access to cessation services, the report recommends improving statewide tobacco control funding to ensure all New Yorkers who need these resources can access them.

Launched in July, the Center of Excellence for Health System Improvement (COE for HSI) is already working to improve New Yorkers' access to cessation resources and ultimately reducing the smoking rate in the state. A project of CAI, the COE for HSI works closely with 10 regional contractors to provide health systems, including Federally Qualified Health Centers and other health care organizations serving low-income New Yorkers, with resources and support to make operational changes that ensure tobacco dependence treatment is integrated into every patient visit. Facilities that treat New Yorkers with serious mental illness are also a high priority for the project since this population has higher rates of tobacco use, and tobacco-related morbidity and mortality.

"The ALA report emphasizes the important barriers to access to tobacco dependence treatment that the COE for HSI seeks to address," said Elizabeth Jones, Director of the COE for HSI. "Supporting systematic changes to these health care systems will ensure that all New Yorkers are offered and have access to the resources they need to quit smoking."

To see the ALA report, click here. For more information on the COE for HSI, click here to visit the project website.

About CAI: CAI is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of underserved populations worldwide. For 36 years CAI has provided customized capacity building services to health and human service organizations in over 27 countries and in all 50 states. Offering over 1,500 training programs annually, CAI's passionate staff works to fulfill its mission: to use the transformative power of education and research to foster a more aware, healthy, compassionate and equitable world. For more information about CAI, visit our website: www.caiglobal.org.

About the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement: With funding from the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control, CAI serves as the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement (COE for HSI) for a Tobacco-Free NY. The COE for HSI promotes large-scale systems and policy changes to support the universal provision of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment services. The COE for HSI aims to support 10 contractors throughout New York State working regionally with health care systems and organizations that serve those populations for which smoking prevalence rates have not decreased in recent years - adults with low income, less than a high school diploma and/or poor mental health. Focused on providing capacity building assistance services around topics like how to engage and obtain buy-in from leadership to implement the kinds of systems-level changes that will result in identification and intervention with every tobacco user who seeks care, the COE for HSI also will offer materials and resources to support contractors in their regional work. For more information, click here to visit the project website.

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