MECCA Receives Grant to Improve Substance Abuse Treatment

Submitted by: 02/08/2005

MECCA Services announced today that the organization has been selected as one of 13 new treatment sites to join Paths to Recovery, a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Paths to Recovery is part of the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx), a unique learning collaborative designed to improve access and retention in addiction treatment.

Nationally, fewer than one in four people addicted to alcohol or other drugs receive treatment, and as many as half of those who do successfully access care leave treatment before its full benefit can be realized. "Often, the real issue keeping patients from treatment," according to NIATx Director David Gustafson, "is the way that services are delivered, and this is the issue each organization participating in the NIATx program is addressing."

"We are thrilled to be selected to be part of NIATx," said Arthur Schut, MECCA President/CEO. "Increasing the quality of services in the current economic environment is a challenge in which MECCA finds a stimulating opportunity, and improving our services with the assistance of the expertise assembled by RWJF is a bonus."

The treatment sites selected to participate in the collaborative are leading providers in the field who have been making innovative changes in their own organizations. By redesigning processes such as patient intake, assessment, scheduling, outreach, and family involvement, the NIATx goal is to create a more efficient system that is less frustrating for both patients and staff, and that makes it easier for patients to complete treatment.

"To be among the 13 agencies selected nationally for this grant is a great accomplishment for us," said Schut. "The grant will be used for staff training as well as assistance from expert consultants who will work with us to improve our ability to meet the treatment needs of our community. We are also very pleased to be partnering with Employee & Family Resources (EFR) and Magellan Health Services in our initial project in Polk County, which will focus on increasing access and retention through centralizing assessments."

MECCA provides a full range of substance abuse and behavioral health services in Polk, Warren, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, and Washington counties, including prevention, early intervention, assessment, detoxification, treatment, and continuing care. MECCA is a not-for-profit, community agency in its 35th year. For more information, please call (515) 262-0349 or go to

NIATx is a national initiative of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) designed to strengthen the addiction treatment field's ability to significantly and continuously improve the care processes that facilitate patient access to and retention in treatment programs. For more information, please visit

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grantmaking in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost; to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse – tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.

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