NIATx announces 2014 Innovation in Behavioral Healthcare Services Awards

Submitted by: 12/16/2013 by Maureen Fitzgerald

“Innovation is the way of transforming the resources of an enterprise through the creativity of people into new resources…”—Paul Schumann, Innovator and Futurist

Sponsored by NIATx, the process improvement learning collaborative based at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS), the 2014 Innovation in Behavioral Healthcare Services Awards (iAwards) highlight innovations in business practices that position an organization to meet the challenges of future service delivery. 

The Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality relates innovation to healthcare in this way:

"An innovation is defined as the implementation of new or revised management or quality improvement practices, including products, services, processes, systems, organizational structures, or business models that have a beneficial impact on the delivery of substance abuse treatment services. It is recognized that a practice that is a standard practice in one delivery system may be cutting edge in another."

Across the country, behavioral healthcare organizations involved in BHBusiness: Mastering Essential Business Operations are developing and implementing innovative practices to increase quality service, expand their capacity to serve more people, and enhance their ability to thrive in the evolving healthcare environment. Innovations are taking place in every facet of organizational strategy, including:

  1. Developing new business models
  2. Improving billing practices
  3. Identifying new markets
  4. Integrating services with primary care clinics, hospitals, and practices.
  5. Expanding the use of technology

Innovations in these areas are critical to the success and survival of specialty addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The iAward recognizes the important role these innovations have in the future of our field. These innovations are exciting and are largely unrecognized by other managers, leaders, change agents, and organizations in and out of the field of addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Organizations across the country are seeking replicable and effective ways of changing business practices to meet the healthcare reform requirements. Participants in BHBusiness: Mastering Essential Business Operations are leading the field by providing these important models for change. The iAward provides a venue for them to share how they have adapted to meet the changing needs of clients, staff, and the addiction healthcare field and what they have gained by participating in the BHBusiness Learning Collaborative.

Selected Winners

Up to FIVE (5) organizations will be selected as iAward winners. The selection committee will be seeking top-notch innovations. Winning applicants will provide a strong description of their improvement and will receive an all-expense paid trip to the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Washington, DC, May 5–7, 2014.


To be eligible for the iAward, provider organizations, coalitions, or state, county or local government payors/agencies must have participated in one of the BHbusiness learning networks. Innovations may be evidence-based or a best/promising practice and should be a new practice or an adaptation of a current practice that the organization implemented as a result of participating in a BHbusiness learning network.  Winners will be selected based on the clarity of the application, the description of the innovation, and the strength of the plan to sustain the innovation. 

Interested organizations should complete this application, providing relevant information in the correct fields. Note that no more than two applications will be considered from the same organization. Organizations that submit two applications must submit for different innovations.

This award is limited to entities that have participated in a BHbusiness learning network.


Deadline for submission is February 3, 2014. All applications must be submitted to Jeanne Pulvermacher

Applications will only be accepted using this form.

Notification of Selection and Presentation Process

Awardees will be notified of their selection by March 1, 2014. Those not selected will also be notified. All expenses for travel and registration will be covered for one representative for each award.

A press release announcing the winners will be sent to media outlets in the addiction healthcare field.  By submitting an application for consideration, applicants agree to:

1) Send at least one representative to the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference May 5-7, 2014.

2) The use of a description of their innovative practice in press releases and on the affiliated websites.

3) Present a workshop at the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference May 5-7, 2014, as part of a panel with the other winners.


1) Description of the organization

a. Location

b. Funding sources

c. Population served

d. Services provided

e. Mission/vision statement

f. BHbusiness Learning Network: Provide the name and dates of the learning network course you completed.


2) Description of the innovation (30 pts.)

a. The nature of the problem or issue addressed

b. How the issue impacted the organization and the resulting need for the innovation

c. Process by which the innovation was developed

d. Goals of the innovation

e. Length of time the innovation has been in place

f. The changes resulting from the innovation


3) Description of the business case (25 pts.)

a. The financial implication without the innovation in place

b. The financial implications following implementation of the innovation


4) Description of the results (25 pts.)

a. Include relevant data collected

b. Provide anecdotal information collected

c. Describe how the innovation benefitted staff, consumers, families, and/or communities


5) Description of the sustainability plan (20 pts.)

a. Plan to sustain the innovation

b. Plan to sustain the gains made from the innovation

c. Person(s) responsible for maintaining/sustaining the innovation

Please note that applications will be judged on the content and concept of the innovation described, but a well-written narrative is essential to a strong application.

Please limit narrative to the space allotted in the application form. Additional supporting material will not be considered and cannot be returned.

A panel of experts in the areas of innovation, process improvement, and addiction healthcare will be convened to review the submissions and make the final award selections.

For more information, contact Jeanne Pulvermacher at 608-513-9430 or email

For more information about the 2014 award or previous award winners, go to: or

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