NAMI Kansas Report Announces Significant Return on Investment for Comprehensive and Barrier-Free Tobacco Treatment in KanCare
Return on Investment for Comprehensive and Barrier-Free Tobacco Treatment in KanCare
February 5, 2018 (Topeka, KS) – A report released today by NAMI Kansas, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, highlights the substantial return on investment of supporting comprehensive and proactive smoking cessation for KanCare beneficiaries with behavioral health disorders in the Medicaid population.
The report, co-authored by Professor Tami Gurley-Calvez at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, estimates the economic impact of providing smoking cessation treatment through Kansas Medicaid for a population of adults with particularly high smoking rates and expected healthcare expenditures—those with severe mental illness and/or a substance use disorder.
Due to the high health care costs that result from smoking-related illness, reducing smoking is projected to help the state economy with a net direct economic benefit of $15 million if all Kansas Medicaid participants with severe mental illness and/or a substance use disorder were able to successfully quit using tobacco. An additional $14 million in indirect economic activity results in a total economic gain of $29 million or $1.57 for every $1.00 spent.
“This study supports the legislative objectives represented by Senate Bill 316 to establish comprehensive tobacco cessation coverage for all KanCare beneficiaries,” said Rick Cagan, Executive Director of NAMI Kansas. “We believe that the return on investment for all people in KanCare who smoke will be even greater than for the behavioral health population,” Cagan added.
The study concludes that increasing access to smoking cessation programs improves patient health and improves the state economy. “It is more cost-effective to proactively pay for smoking cessation than to pay the cost of treating Kansans for the illnesses caused by smoking,” said Cagan.
With funding from the Kansas Health Foundation, a coalition of health care advocates have been working to develop resources, including the Tobacco Guideline for Behavioral Health, to reduce the impact of tobacco-related illnesses among the behavioral health population.