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Mil Med. 2006 Jan;171(1):80-7.

Assessing the institutional approach to implementing smoking cessation practice guidelines in veterans health administration facilities.

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  • 1Veterans Administration Health Services Research and Development, Center of Excellence for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior, Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Sepulveda, CA 91343, USA.


National smoking cessation guidelines include recommended strategies for providers and health care organizations, but they offer little guidance on how to structure care. We conducted a cross-sectional survey at 40 Veterans Health Administration facilities, to describe the structure of smoking cessation care, to assess adherence to national guidelines, and to assess facilities' preferred approach to providing smoking cessation treatment. We categorized sites as those using a primary care approach (most smokers treated by the primary care provider) versus a specialty approach (medication restricted to smoking cessation clinics, to which most patients were referred). Nearly all sites reported systematic screening for smoking and counseling of smokers, usually by both nursing staff members and the primary care provider. Most sites used a specialty approach, restricting medication access to smokers attending a cessation program. Future research should evaluate whether this approach provides adequate access and responsiveness to patient preferences for the full population of smokers in primary care.

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