A Potential Tool for Smoking Cessation During Pregnancy


Plus: A value-based partnership between Eleanor Health and Amerigroup, and a new clinical definition for infant opioid withdrawal

By Ellie Jensen

New & Next: Industry

DynamiCare Seeks FDA Approval for Smoking Cessation Treatment

The digital therapeutics and telehealth company DynamiCare Health has received device designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its digital therapeutic, DCH-001, a prescription treatment for tobacco smoking cessation that is designed to be safe and effective during pregnancy. This designation will expedite the approval process for DCH-001. Current FDA-approved smoking cessation medications are not deemed safe for use during pregnancy. In a study published in Preventative Medicine, DCH-001 was found to be 2.8 times more effective in helping pregnant individuals quit smoking than other interventions. DCH-001, which combines a smartphone app with a connected breath carbon monoxide monitor, saliva cotinine (nicotine) tests and a reloadable debit card, is based on the concept of contingency management.

“Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to break, and the correlations with social determinants of health mean that pregnant smokers are struggling with many other challenges in their lives as they try to quit, without the help of medications that are available to everyone else,” said Eric Gastfriend, CEO of DynamiCare Health. “Our mission is to support expecting mothers in quitting to improve outcomes for them and their babies. DynamiCare’s digital therapeutic could become the first treatment for smoking demonstrated to be safe and effective during pregnancy, and we are honored that FDA has recognized DCH-001 as a breakthrough device.”

Eleanor Health, Amerigroup Bring Value-Based Care to Washington

The healthcare provider Eleanor Health has entered into partnership with the insurance group Amerigroup Washington to provide value-based care in the state of Washington for people with substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health issues. The partnership aims to reduce the total cost of care for Amerigroup members. Eleanor Health will provide outreach and comprehensive clinical care at in-person clinics in Everett, Seattle and Lakewood and through its telehealth program.

In-Home SUD Care from CareSource and Wayspring

CareSource, a nonprofit health plan, is working with the addiction treatment company Wayspring (formerly axialHealthcare) to provide an in-home care program for SUD. The program initially will be available in Indiana for anyone enrolled in Medicaid and will offer assistance with transportation, appointment scheduling and housing, prioritizing high-risk individuals.

New & Next: Education

A New Clinical Definition for Infant Opioid Withdrawal

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently developed a standard clinical definition for opioid withdrawal in infants. A previous study by HHS found that the lack of standard definition made it more difficult to enact policies to help pregnant people with opioid use disorder and their infants. The standard clinical definition is available to read in The Journal of Pediatrics, and includes information on prenatal exposure as well as specific clinical symptoms.

New & Next: Webinars

CASAT Examines Problem Gambling

The Center for the Application of Substance Use Technologies (CASAT) will host a webinar on March 7 on best practices for screening for gambling issues. The free webinar will also delve into the importance of addressing gambling behaviors as part of behavioral health care. You can register or find more information here.

Giving Treatment Staff a Reason to Stay

The National Association of Treatment Providers (NAATP) will present a webinar on improving staff retention on March 10. The session will explain how to give staff a reason to stay beyond salary and benefits, focusing on the importance of effective team building and coaching. Registration is open now.

Photo: Anna Hecker