Alliance battles tobacco with grant

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Targets Tobacco Use Prevention and Reduction

Washington, D.C. (July 5, 2000) – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has awarded a $475,000, three-year grant to support the Alliance of Community Health Plans’ (ACHP) long-term commitment to making tobacco prevention a primary care priority for the managed care industry.

“With this extensive Robert Wood Johnson Foundation support, ACHP will expand successful tobacco prevention and cessation efforts from group practice settings into the clinical offices of individual physician practices,” noted Daniel Wolfson, the Alliance’s president and CEO. “This is important because managed care has evolved from group health plans to mixed and network models,” he explained.

It is anticipated that 10 to 12 health plans, representing as many as 8 million enrolled members, will participate in these tobacco improvement efforts. Under the grant, there will also be leadership training that will enable participating plans to ultimately serve as tobacco reduction resources for the rest of the managed care industry.

Hundreds of thousands of people die each year from diseases attributable to tobacco use. ACHP chose to target tobacco interventions to better address secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. This project builds on coronary disease reduction efforts spearheaded by the Alliance in its pioneering Benchmarks in Quality and Safety initiative announced earlier this year. For patients with established heart disease, tobacco cessation is an essential primary and secondary prevention measure.

Established in 1984, ACHP supports its member plans’ ongoing efforts to improve the health of their members and the communities they serve. ACHP’s membership includes 22 leading non-investor owned and provider-based health plans serving more than 8 million Americans in 23 states and the District of Columbia. These plans work with approximately 100,000 physicians in thousands of local communities. ACHP is a founding member of The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, NJ, is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grant making in three goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost; to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions; and, to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse — tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.