Massena Memorial Hospital First in New York State to link electronically with Opt-to-Quit Program
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 12:07 pm


Department representatives who are part of putting the MMH Opt to Quit Program together are, from left, Jay Lawrence, Information Technology; Donna Dishaw, RN, Medical/Surgical Unit; Debbie Willer, RT, Respiratory Therapy Director; Beth Gero, Ph.D., MA, Certified Tobacco Intervention Specialist; and Ty Batten, Information Technoloogy

MASSENA -- MMH is the first in New York State to launch the “Hospital Opt to Quit Program” with the support of the Tobacco Cessation Center of Northern New York. When a patient is admitted to Massena Memorial Hospital during their inpatient assessment from the Nursing Team, a patient is asked if they use tobacco and would like information about quitting tobacco.

If a patient answers yes, a member of the hospital’s Respiratory Therapy team will visit the patient during their hospital stay and offer brief counseling on tobacco use and dependence and information about the NY State Smokers Quit Line Opt-to-quit program, NYSSQL. Then the Respiratory Therapist will ask the patient to sign a release form, authorizing MMH to electronically send the patient’s request to the Quitline.

"Few opportunities hold more promise for increasing the rate of tobacco-use cessation than patient contact within a health care system. Thanks to Massena Memorial Hospital's efforts in implementing the Opt-to-Quit program through the NY State Smokers’ Quitline, a big step forward has been made to help their patients who use tobacco. The Opt-to-quit program supports patients with their quit attempt after discharge". Beth Gero

“The intent of the Opt-to Quit Program is to provide follow-up contact to help tobacco users quit and remain tobacco free and hence avoid readmissions; smoking can cause many diseases such as Pneumonia, heart disease and cancers,” said Gero. “Tobacco use is a known chronic condition with many quit attempts and relapse cycles. Therefore it is necessary to enter tobacco using patients into an ongoing service that will continually motivate quit attempts and offer evidence based practices for help to quit. Once the patient is discharged he/she will be receiving free services including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), coaching and other web-based services,” said Gero.

Cessation centers work with health-care organizations and providers to implement systems to screen patients for tobacco use and prompt providers to offer advice and assistance to quit. “Massena Memorial Hospital is partnering to with the Tobacco Cessation Center of Northern New York and NYSSQL to improve the health of our patients and community,” said Sue Beaulieu, RN, FACHE, Chief Nurse Executive.

The New York State Smokers' Quitline provides free nicotine patches for eligible NYS smokers, trained Quitline specialists offering coaching and encouragement for quit attempts, and information about local stop smoking programs. For more information please call the toll-free number: 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit