This bill would provide that tobacco cessation services are covered benefits under the Medi-Cal program and would require that those services include, at a minimum, unlimited quit attempts, which would be defined to include at least 4 counseling sessions and a 90-day treatment regimen of any medication approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for tobacco cessation.
AAP Positional Letter
The Honorable Chris Holden
State Capitol, Room 319
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 1162 (Holden) Tobacco cessation under Medi-Cal
AAP-CA Position : Support
Dear Assembly Member Holden,
I am writing on behalf of the California District of the Academy of Pediatrics , California representing over 5000 pediatricians to let you know that we are in full support of AB 1162 . This bill would require Medi-Cal fee for service and managed care to provide unlimited quit attempts including a minimum of 90 days of FDA approved tobacco treatment medication and 4 counseling sessions , as specified.
California pediatricians strongly support AB 1162 to help our adolescent patients and the parents of all of our Medi-Cal patients to quit smoking, to protect children and youth from long-term nicotine addiction and exposure to second-hand smoke.
Pediatricians provide tobacco treatment medications and counseling referrals for the parents of their patients because the pediatrician may be the only health care provider a young parent sees. When a Medi-Cal patient goes to the pharmacy and cannot get their tobacco cessation prescription because it needs to be accompanied by a certificate or it requires a prior authorization we often lose smokers at an opportunity when they are motivated to quit. Removing these barriers will increase the number of Medi-Cal patients who get the treatment they need to successfully quit. It often takes several tries, but when they know they can get the support that is offered they are more likely to be persistent. Massachusetts reduced barriers to treatment and helped Medicaid patients to dramatically reduce their smoking. AB 1162 has the potential to do the same.
Finally, AB 1162 will also bring us into compliance with the Affordable Care Act, which has mandated tobacco treatment without barriers because it is known to be so effective.
Thank you for our public service and leadership on behalf of the health and well being of children, youth and families in California.
Chief Executive Officer
American Academy of Pediatrics, California