Grading Health Plans and Providers on How Well They Screen for Alcohol Misuse

Development of measures of health system performance in the early identification and reduction of alcohol-related problems

Investigators with FAACT (Foundation for Accountability) developed a set of performance measures that can be used to hold health plans and providers accountable for the identification and treatment of alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse, and at-risk alcohol use (collectively called alcohol misuse).

FAACT is no longer in existence; its archives exist on the Markel Foundation Web site.

Advances in screening and diagnosis have improved the prospects for early identification and treatment of alcohol misuse. Performance measures can be used by purchasers, consumers, regulators, accrediting organizations and policymakers to judge the performance of health care providers and plans in this area.

Key Results

  • Investigators assessed available measurement tools to develop a set of performance measures that would be both practical and effective.
  • A panel of national experts was convened in Washington, D.C., in October 1997 to review the proposed measures. The measures were further tested through two consumer focus groups that took place in Milwaukee, Wis., in April 1998.
  • The final set of five measures was endorsed by FACCT's Measures Council in summer 1998 and by FACCT's Board in September.
  • Investigators also produced a step-by-step "technical specifications" guide, which:
    • Describes the measures.
    • Explains the rationale behind them and how to collect them.
    • Includes a background scientific paper.
  • FACCT distributed the guide to more than 1,000 health plans, providers, accrediting organizations, and leaders in the field of alcohol research.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the project with a grant of $48,600 from June 1997 to September 1998.