Advancing Recovery: State and Provider Partnerships for Quality Addiction Care

An RWJF National Program

Dates of Program: January 2006 through June 2010

Field of Work: Implementing evidence-based addiction treatment practices

Problem Synopsis: Evidence-based practices can improve the quality of care for people with substance abuse disorders but are not readily available to consumers and are not routinely used by the nation’s 13,000 publicly funded treatment programs.

Synopsis of the Work: From January 2006 through June 2010, 12 state-provider partnerships selected and implemented evidence-based practices for the treatment of substance abuse. These included medication-assisted treatment, continuing care management, use of psychosocial interventions (such as motivational interviewing), and case management or wraparound support services.

NIATx (Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment), a learning community based at the University of Wisconsin that works to remove barriers to treatment and recovery by improving the cost and effectiveness of the care delivery system, provided program management and technical assistance. The 12 partnerships used the NIATx system-improvement model to integrate the evidence-based practices at both the state and agency levels.

Key Results

  • The 12 state-provider partnerships gave 10,000 patients access to evidence-based treatments and services for their substance use disorders and addictions.

    • Some 5,505 patients received medication-assisted treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Most of these patients had no access to this form of treatment prior to Advancing Recovery.
    • Providers enrolled some 2,106 patients in outpatient continuing-care programs where they received telephone follow-up, increased case management, and other support services that either had not existed or were not fully developed prior to 2006.
  • Partnerships between single state agencies and treatment providers helped with the implementation and spread of the selected evidence-based practices.

  • Advancing Recovery tested a model for implementing large-systems change in complex health care environments. The model uses Five Levers of Change (financial, regulatory, inter- and intra-organizational, and contracting/purchasing) to analyze and reduce barriers at the state and agency level that impede the adoption and spread of quality improvement and evidence-based practices for addiction treatment.