Adapting Washington Circle Performance Measures for Public Sector Substance Abuse Treatment Systems

Institute for Behavioral Health, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.
Journal of substance abuse treatment (Impact Factor: 2.9). 09/2008; 36(3):265-77. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2008.06.008
Source: PubMed


The Washington Circle, a group focused on developing and disseminating performance measures for substance abuse services, developed three such measures for private health plans. In this article, we explore whether these measures are appropriate for meeting measurement goals in the public sector and feasible to calculate in the public sector using data collected for administrative purposes by state and local substance abuse and/or mental health agencies. Working collaboratively, 12 states specified revised measures and 6 states pilot tested them. Two measures were retained from the original specifications: initiation of treatment and treatment engagement. Additional measures were focused on continuity of care after assessment, detoxification, residential or inpatient care. These data demonstrate that state agencies can calculate performance measures from routinely available information and that there is wide variability in these indicators. Ongoing research is needed to examine the reasons for these results, which might include lack of patient interest or commitment, need for quality improvement efforts, or financial issues.

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Available from: Andrea Acevedo, Apr 01, 2014
    • "Furthermore, successful treatment completion data is useful in public health analyses (Alterman, 2001; Garnick et al., 2009). Referral source is associated with treatment success (Arndt, Acion, & White, 2013; Atkinson, Misra, Ryan, & Turner, 2003). "
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    • "It has been well established that members of racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely than Whites to experience difficulty entering and remaining in SAT beyond the general threshold of 90 days necessary to derive benefits from treatment (Amaro et al., 2006; Friedmann et al., 2003; Marsh et al., 2009; Tonigan, 2003; Zhang et al., 2003). As a reflection of their importance to treatment, wait time and retention have been included among program performance measures developed by nationally recognized research groups (Garnick et al., 2009; McCarty et al., 2007), as well as county and state administrative data systems (Hyde, 2011; Rawson and McLellan, 2010). Thus, it is critical to rely on these process measures to analyze program capacity to enhance standards of care. "
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