National Effort to Improve Addiction Treatment Quality Moves Forward

Submitted by: 12/05/2006

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has selected six state-provider partnerships to improve the quality of alcohol and drug addiction treatment in the United States. The grant funding is provided through the Foundation's Advancing Recovery: State/Provider Partnerships for Quality Addiction Care national initiative, which seeks to promote the use of evidence-based clinical practices through innovative partnerships between substance abuse treatment provider organizations that deliver care and single state agencies. The six state-provider partnerships (see list below) will participate in a learning network that will provide them the tools to improve the delivery of addiction treatment. Funding will support the process of making changes at both the state and the service provider levels to maximize the implementation of proven addiction treatment practices.

"By changing and strengthening state- and provider-level practices that promote the use of evidence-based care, the Advancing Recovery partnerships are in a unique position to improve patient outcomes and highlight addiction treatment as an essential component of the health care system," said Victor Capoccia, RWJF senior program officer. "People who seek treatment for addiction experience wide variations in the quality of care they receive. The goal of Advancing Recovery is to help us overcome the barriers to using 'what works' and increase the use of proven addiction treatment practices."

Advancing Recovery is co-directed by David Gustafson, Ph.D., of the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., from the Treatment Research Institute (TRI) in Philadelphia.

"There is so much that can enhance the chances of a sustainable adoption of an evidence-based practice," said Gustafson. "Some involve training or organizational arrangements such as supervision changes. Our focus, however, is on systemic changes at the state level, such as providing liability coverage when a new level of care is added, and also at the provider level-for example, creative use of technology to maintain contact during continuing care." "Advancing Recovery continues the treatment program-level innovation and practicality of the NIATx program, but improves the potential for sustained change in system financing, regulation and purchasing by engaging the state as a partner in the process," said A. Thomas McLellan.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 23 million Americans age 12 and older need treatment for substance-use disorders and addictions. Yet less than 10 percent of them actually receive treatment and among those who do, very few have access to quality treatment services.

The partnerships selected through Advancing Recovery will focus on five categories to improve treatment quality, including the use of:

  1. medications for specific diagnoses;
  2. screening and brief intervention in primary care settings;
  3. specific psychosocial clinical interventions;
  4. post-treatment care; and
  5. case management, wraparound, and supportive services.

Advancing Recovery Partnership Projects

Delaware Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health New Castle, DE Jack Kemp, Director (302) 255-9433 Florida Department of Children and Families - Substance Abuse Program Office Tallahassee, FL SheilaBarbee Collins, Performance Management and Improvement Coordinator (850) 921-8831

Kentucky Kentucky River Community Care, Inc. Jackson, KY David Matthews, Director Adult Services (606) 666-9006

Maine State of Maine, Office of Substance Abuse Augusta, ME Kimberly A. Johnson, Director (207) 287-6344

Missouri State of Missouri Missouri Department of Mental Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Jefferson City, MO Terry D. Morris (573) 751- 8677

Rhode Island NRI Community Services Woonsocket, RI Michelle P. Taylor, Director of Evaluation and Performance Improvement (401) 235-7472

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.

About NIATx The Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx) is a national initiative supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Paths to Recovery program and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's (CSAT) Strengthening Treatment Access and Retention (STAR) program.

About the Treatment Research Institute The Treatment Research Institute is a not-for-profit research and development organization dedicated to reducing the devastating effects of alcohol and other drug abuse on individuals, families and communities by employing scientific methods and disseminating evidence-based information.

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