The Laura and John Arnold Foundation today announced a $1.3 million grant to the national nonprofit Shatterproof to pilot the first addiction treatment rating system. The system will be an important step toward ensuring patients with opioid use disorder receive tested forms of medical treatment.
Only one in 10 Americans with opioid use disorder receives treatment shown by research to be effective. The problems with substandard care stem in part from the fact that addiction is not treated through the medical system. Studies show less than half of the treatment facilities in the United States offer medication for opioid use disorder, and many rely on group counseling instead of individualized treatment plans as is standard practice when managing other chronic diseases.
“If you Google, ‘opioid addiction treatment centers,’ you’ll get tens of thousands of results but virtually zero credible information about the quality of care these facilities provide,” said Erica Brown, LJAF Director of Public Health. “Patients desperately need more information to better manage their health.”
Shatterproof will use healthcare rating best practices in an effort to provide more insight into industry quality. Treatment programs in a select number of pilot states will be evaluated against a medical standard for evidence-based addiction care developed under the guidance of the National Quality Forum (NQF), a nonprofit that measures healthcare performance. NQF is one of the leading organizations in the field, having created consensus care standards used by Medicaid agencies, the federal government, and private companies to help determine provider quality.
An important component of the standards will be provider surveys and focus groups. Working with RTI International, a nonprofit research institute with experience developing national healthcare quality reports, Shatterproof will also integrate data from insurance claims and consumer experience to help determine the ratings. After publishing the standards, Shatterproof will educate providers about how to improve their quality of care and help policymakers develop plans to promote evidence-based treatment.
Improving the current addiction treatment system is essential to reversing rising addiction rates. LJAF’s support for the project is part of our broader effort to save lives by addressing the opioid epidemic. The foundation has committed more than $10 million to support research on opioid use disorder treatment and interventions in an effort to reduce the social, economic, and criminal justice costs of the disease.