Study: MassHealth Anti-Smoking Programs Cut Hospital Stays

The risk of hospitalization from heart attacks has dropped sharply for those who used MassHealth-covered smoking cessation programs.

That's according to a study published Tuesday by the Public Library of Science. It found the risk of heading to a hospital because of a heart attack fell by 46 percent among those who took advantage of benefits provided by the state Medicaid program.

Gov. Deval Patrick said the study shows Massachusetts' landmark 2006 health care reform law has made a difference in a short time.

In the first two and a half years that the smoking cessation benefit was available, more than 75,000 MassHealth members used it to try to quit smoking.

The smoking rate among MassHealth members also fell 26 percent.

However, some public health specialists question the methodology of the study. They tell it's not clear whether the anti-smoking campaign actually lowered the risk of heart attack.

The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read the study below:

This program aired on December 8, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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