SSTAR Receives Grant to Participate in National Project to Improve Substance Abuse Treatment

Submitted by: 02/01/2005

Stanley Street Treatment and Resources, Inc. (SSTAR) announced today that the nonprofit health care and social service agency has been selected with 12 other treatment sites to participate in a project of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Paths to Recovery national program. The project is part a unique learning collaborative designed to improve access and retention in substance abuse treatment. The collaborative, the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx), is a partnership between Paths to Recovery and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's Strengthening Access and Retention (STAR) program, and involves more than 40 treatment organizations nationwide.

"We are pleased to join with colleagues from across the country to participate in this important project," says Patricia N. Emsellem, M.S., L.A.D.C., SSTAR's COO. "Everyone is enthusiastic about the potential for creating organizational change through process improvement techniques." Ms. Emsellem explains that the 18-month, $111,300 grant will be used for training and the use of expert consultants to improve SSTAR's ability to meet the treatment needs of the community.

The treatment sites selected to participate are leading providers in the field dedicated to making innovative changes in their organizations. By redesigning processes such a patient intake, assessment, scheduling, outreach and family involvement, the NIATx goal is to create a more efficient system that makes it easier for patients to complete 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. David H. Gustafson, Ph.D., director of the NIATx initiative, cites three reasons for this.

"For some, the issue is finances, for others the issue is readiness," he notes. "But we've found that often the real issue keeping patients from treatment is the way that services are delivered, and this is the issue each organization participating in the NIATx program is addressing.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, NJ, 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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