Medicare: Smokers Not Told To Quit

Monday, September 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) — Nearly 30 percent of Medicare recipients who see managed-care physicians and smoke are not being urged to quit, the government said Thursday.

About 13 percent of patients in Medicare managed-care programs smoke, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. About 70 percent of those reported that a doctor or other health-care provider had encouraged them to quit in the past year.

Under government guidelines, Medicare managed-care programs are supposed to encourage patients to kick the habit.

Mnority groups are encouraged less often to quit, the study found. More than 72 percent of whites are urged to stop smoking, vs. 68 percent of blacks, 65 percent of Hispanics and 54 percent of Asian-Americans.

Dr. David Arday, an epidemiologist with the Health Care Financing Administration, the agency that runs Medicare, said language barriers account for some of the difference.

The study looked at more than 167,000 people in 1998. The CDC cautioned that some of the patients may have gone to the doctor for an emergency, when talking about smoking is not a priority.


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