ClearWay Minnesota(SM) Board approves grants to improve how clinics help tobacco-using patients Funding to improve health care systems for addressing tobacco use

MINNEAPOLIS, March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- At its meeting on March 19, ClearWay Minnesota's Board of Directors approved three grants to advance health systems changes to ensure that addressing tobacco use is fully integrated into the health care experience for patients.

ClearWay Minnesota works to make sure all Minnesotans have access to comprehensive quit-tobacco services. Priorities include ensuring that all health insurance products cover tobacco cessation, that all providers routinely intervene with tobacco-using patients and that more smokers are connected to quitting resources.  

This work reflects ClearWay Minnesota's focus on sustainable strategies to address tobacco use across the state. Research from the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey shows that while 94 percent of Minnesota smokers say they are asked about their smoking by health practitioners, only 44 percent are referred to quitting help. The new grants aim to help close such gaps.

At yesterday's meeting, health systems change grants totaling $561,004 were awarded to:

  • Hennepin Health Foundation, to create standardized processes for identifying tobacco users, assessing willingness to quit and referring to cessation services that will be implemented throughout Hennepin County Medical Center. The total grant award is not to exceed $161,030 for a term of two years. The Project Director is Tamara Didion.
  • CentraCare Health Foundation, to integrate tobacco dependence treatment into continuum of care models, conduct proactive outreach to tobacco users through their Total Cost of Care center and improve identification, outreach and resources for tobacco-dependent patients. The total grant award is not to exceed $199,984 for a term of two years. The Project Director is Dr. John Schmitz.
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, to expand their Electronic Health Record (EHR) and implement quality measurement and improvement processes to support best practices and care coordination for patients using commercial tobacco. (Commercial tobacco products such as cigarettes are differentiated from those used for sacred, traditional purposes by American Indians.) The total grant award is not to exceed $199,990 for a term of two years. The Project Director is Lisa Blahosky.

"The clinic setting is an ideal place to reach out to tobacco users and offer them help and support in quitting tobacco," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer of ClearWay Minnesota. "Providing this funding to health care systems will help them ensure that treating tobacco use becomes the norm in health care, just like treating high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Ultimately, this work will help improve patients' health and reduce health care costs due to tobacco use."

About ClearWay MinnesotaSM
ClearWay Minnesota is an independent nonprofit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement. For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visit

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota

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