Smokers who want to quit can now be reimbursed for addiction care

People with severe smoking addiction can also be referred to an addiction doctor from now on. At the beginning of this year, Wilhelmina Hospital in Assen, together with Addiction Care Noord Nederland, started an experiment to offer people who are extremely difficult to quit smoking the same treatment as people with alcohol or drug addiction.

Initially, the addiction care was not reimbursed, but now health insurer Menzis is going to do so, for a period of three years.

Hospitalization in addiction

That‘s good news for smokers who have tried everything to get rid of their addiction. โ€œFrom the basic insurance, a coaching process, ‘help with quitting smoking‘ is reimbursed. But if people with that coaching can’t quit smoking anyway, the trajectory ended there. While with specialist GGZ addiction care, and possibly as part of the treatment, they could get rid of smoking.โ€

The possibility of being referred to get rid of smoking is a first, says addiction doctor Robert van de Graaf in the CCEit Radio 1 Journal. โ€œThis is not happening anywhere in the world yet. The trial in Assen has shown that people who have started smoking over and over again can, with the help of this program, cut down or quit.โ€

Earlier we made this video about Tineke Wiebrants, lung patient, and more than 40 years addicted to smoking. She took a trajectory with an addiction doctor to stop:

The reason why the treatment of smokers was previously exclusively outside the hospital and was not reimbursed, according to Van de Graaf, has to do with the way in which smoking was looked at. โ€œIt was seen as a bad habit, bad behavior and, moreover, your own choice. If you get into trouble, it was your own fault, big bump. You could get a fee for coaching calls, but some of the smokers need heavier and more intensive help.โ€

Compensation for three years

Treatment can especially help addict smokers in the rehab process they end up in. โ€œPeople sometimes can‘t sleep from it for weeks or get violent panic attacks. Those things can make you fall back every time. We try to deal with problems with the expertise of an addiction doctor, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and nurses.โ€

Over the next three years, Menzis will reimburse the program for people insured with them. Van de Graaf: โ€œBut we hope that all health insurers in the Netherlands will take this as additional treatment. With this we can guide people who are stuck in the wall. That’s a good thing, because tobacco addiction is the most deadly disease in the Netherlands.โ€