Cornerstone Counseling Center Receives $111,000 Grant to Improve Access to Substance Abuse Treatment

Submitted by: 02/01/2005

Cornerstone Counseling Center has been selected along with 12 other treatment sites throughout the United States to participate in a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The program, Paths to Recovery, is part of a unique learning collaborative designed to improve access to and retention in addiction treatment. This collaborative, the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx), is a partnership between Paths to Recovery, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's Strengthening Access and Retention (STAR) program, and a number of independent addiction treatment organizations.

"For the past year, Cornerstone Counseling Center has focused on increasing access, early engagement, and retention of people suffering with chemical dependence. During this time, Cornerstone reduced the incidence of no-show clients for the first session from 46 percent to 5 percent," said Executive Director, Gary Baker. "With this grant award to support our efforts for the next 18 months, Cornerstone expects to accelerate both the pace and breadth of organizational change. Our staff has worked very hard to make positive changes and the fact that we were selected to be funded is a credit to their efforts."

With this new funding, Cornerstone is partnering with the Salt Lake County Division of Substance Abuse, thus allowing extension of the lessons learned to the larger substance abuse treatment system in our community.

The goal of the partnership is to attain smoother functioning as a continuum of care. The partners want to create a care system that is continually accessible and responsive to clients, their families and other support systems. Efforts will be directed toward shifting from an acute care to a chronic care approach that will recognize the true nature of the treatment of addiction.

"The overall goal is to create a more efficient system for both clients and staff that makes it easier for clients to complete treatment," Baker said.

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. There are three main reasons for this, according to David Gustafson, director of the NIATx initiative.

"For some the issue is finances, for others the issue is readiness. 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 NIATx is addressing," he said.

Cornerstone Counseling Center provides professional mental health treatment and prevention services which promote enduring improvements in the social and emotional well- being of individuals and families in our community, by specializing in the reduction of substance abuse and violence. Cornerstone is dedicated to providing: treatment and prevention services that promote lasting improvements in individuals and families; access to services regardless of income level and according to ability to pay; and understanding and compassionate service with a special emphasis on serving the broad diversity of cultural groups and underserved populations.

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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