For the past 16 months, our folks in the Division of Behavioral health and our Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease and ASHline have been working to train clinical behavioral health staff in Maricopa and Pima Counties on how to get folks into smoking cessation (quit) services.  The overall goal of this collaboration was to establish a systemic change within the behavioral health system for cessation services and to move Arizona toward being tobacco free!   This involves assessing every single patient at every single visit for tobacco use and providing them the opportunity to be referred for tobacco cessation counseling.

The trend is good.  Our latest data suggests that nearly 10% of all referrals came from our Regional Behavioral Health Authorities.  Here’s the kicker- of those referred, nearly 50% are enrolling for ongoing cessation counseling, which exceeds the enrollment rate of the overall population!  This is truly wonderful.  Most recently, Magellan has officially implemented referral linkages to ASHLine in their electronic health record system and will begin to roll out communication/training to the clinics immediately- allowing case managers and medical staff to easily access the referral form for each client they see while going completely electronic.  Our joint success in this venture, which is far ahead of the curve for integrating behavioral health and tobacco control, will continue to capture the attention of our partners on the national level.