Gateway One of 13 Agencies Selected to Participate in National Program to Improve Addiction Treatment

Submitted by: 01/01/2005

Gateway to Prevention and Recovery, a not-for-profit addiction recovery program in Shawnee which offers outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment services in Pottawatomie and surrounding counties, has received a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through its Paths to Recovery national program. Gateway has been selected to participate in a unique "learning collaborative" to improve access to and retention in addiction treatment. The collaborative - Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx) - is a partnership between Paths to Recovery, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's Strengthening Treatment Access and Retention (STAR) program, and a number of independent addiction treatment organizations.

Gateway was one of 13 programs, from approximately 200 applicant organizations nationwide, selected to participate in the project. The organizations joining the initiative will learn how to make improvements in their day-to-day practices to better serve their clients more efficiently and appropriately based on their individual needs. The sites selected are located throughout the country, ranging from rural to urban communities and serving a variety of clients.

"This gives us a wonderful opportunity to test changes we believe will ultimately benefit our clients, study those changes and make decisions about what works and what does not work, all with the guidance of a process improvement coach," according to Sarah (Sallie) McLaughlin, Gateway's Executive Director. "It is an opportunity for us to work with a network of providers across the country dedicated to treatment improvement."

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 19 million Americans are in need of addiction treatment each year. Fewer than one in four people addicted to alcohol or drugs receive treatment with as many as half of those who do access services either abandoning their programs or being turned away before the full benefits of treatment can be realized.

"We've found that often the real issue keeping patients from treatment is the way that services are delivered," explains David Gustafson, director of the NIATx initiative. "Between the patient and care lies a canyon of paperwork and burdensome processes that get in the way. This is the issue being addressed by each organization participating in the NIATx initiative."

"The goal of the project," according to Victor Capoccia, RWJF senior program officer, "is to improve the quality of treatment services received by admitting people in a timely fashion and providing quality care for an appropriate amount of time. We do that by redesigning systems that get people into a program early and allow them to stay longer, which increases the probability that recovery will occur."

Using customer-focused business practices, the NIATx collaborative has succeeded in reducing wait times and no-show rates and increasing admissions and continuation in treatment. By using peer networking and education to promote a customer-focused culture in treatment programs, NIATx collaborative organizations have achieved dramatic results. Among participating organizations, the average time to assessment was cut 72 percent, time to treatment was cut in half, and patient retention (through four sessions) increased 123 percent.

For more information about Gateway, contact McLaughlin at 405.273.1170; access the website at; or visit the facility at 1010 E. 45th Street, Shawnee.

For more information about the NIATx project and the selected substance abuse treatment sites, 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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