West Virginia has been chosen as one of five states to partner on the development and implementation of a rating system for addiction treatment programs.

During the 24-month pilot program, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) will work with Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending the devastation of addiction. 

The release said the rating system will align with ongoing initiatives in West Virginia to improve the quality of addiction treatment by ensuring care is delivered using evidence-based best practices.

“The substance use epidemic continues to impact individuals and families across West Virginia,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch. “We believe the results of this pilot program will enable us to ensure effective, quality substance use disorder services are offered across the state, which in turn, will benefit those who need our help to combat this problem.”

To address the opioid epidemic, West Virginia has created the Ryan Brown fund, which gave DHHR the responsibility to develop long term treatment beds and expand Quick Response Teams and LEAD programs, as well as Gov. Jim Justice’s pilot projects and his “Jobs in Making You Succeed” project.

“I’ve said for a long time that I’m completely committed to trying everything humanly possible to end the drug crisis in this state once and for all,” Gov. Justice said in the release. “I’m excited about this partnership with Shatterproof because it’s another piece of the puzzle toward getting people the kind of high-quality help that is going to break the cycle of addiction."

The release said the Shatterproof Rating System will be piloted in select states over two years with the goal of transforming the quality of addiction treatment based on eight core Principles of Care, including universal screening for substance use disorders (SUD) across medical settings; rapid access to appropriate SUD care; personalized diagnosis, assessment and treatment; continuing long-term outpatient care; concurrent, coordinated care for physical and mental health; access to fully trained behavioral health professionals; access to FDA-approved medications; and access to non-medical recovery support services.

The pilot will apply public rating system best practices to the addiction treatment field by measuring the evidence-based elements of care delivery shown to improve patient outcomes. Information for the pilot will be gathered from insurance claims, provider surveys and consumer experience. 

“The approach was developed based on the learnings from existing health care rating systems as well as public-facing systems that rate products and services ranging from restaurants to refrigerators. In health care, where this information can literally be the difference between life and death, the public can access data on hospitals, nursing homes, and many other provider types, but not yet addiction treatment services,” said Samantha Arsenault, Director of National Treatment Quality Initiatives at Shatterproof.

“By collecting this data and making it transparent, we aim to align market forces with evidence-based addiction treatment. Regardless of where someone goes for addiction treatment, they should expect care consonant with core evidence-based medical practices, just as they would with other diseases.”

Upon successful completion of the two-year pilot, sustained implementation will continue in the pilot states. A phased expansion will take place across the country.

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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