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Care Coordination for Substance Abuse

by Landmark Recovery

December 18, 2020
A man covering the benefits of care coordination

When ranked against other countries in the world, the United States doesn’t fare well when it comes to substance use disorder and addiction.

Each year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration publishes data regarding substance abuse found in their National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

As of 2017, almost 20 million Americans over the age of 12 were fighting with a substance use disorder. Substances range from illicit drugs that are used by 38% of adults, to alcohol which is abused by 74% of adults battling substance usage.

Though SUDs are clearly a prevalent problem in the United States, treatment strategies seem to be lacking.


Treatment Strategies for Substance Abuse Disorder

Two individuals talking about substance abuse strategies over coffee

Effective treatment programs today are based on research that was conducted in the 1970s. Some of the key principles included in this research include:

  •         Access to treatment needs to be quick
  •         It’s critical to remain in treatment for a sufficient amount of time
  •         No two people need the same treatment plan
  •         Counseling and behavior therapy are commonly used, and medication can be a game-changer

Treatment strategies for substance abuse have remained the same for the past 50 years. While there is much to be said about the effectiveness about these guidelines, the truth is that very few people who battle SUDs are receiving treatment. Out of the millions of people who have lived through addiction, up to 75% report never receiving treatment.


Why is this?


Barriers to Care for Substance Use Disorder

Just like treatment isn’t one size fits all, neither is a person’s rationale for not seeking treatment. There are many underpinning reasons why people don’t seek treatment for SUDs.

People may have a mindset that they can handle things themselves, they might hold personal or religious beliefs toward treatment, they may not have insurance to cover the expenditures related to seeking treatment for the substance abuse disorders they face, or perhaps they fear telling their boss and losing their employment.

Research shows that people with substance use disorders typically still receive healthcare, just not specifically for their habit. Even though these people aren’t outright seeking care for their addictions, it’s still possible to reach them with treatment options.


A New Ruling

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services worked to rewrite a rule that allows for better care for people dealing with substance abuse.

Up until now, rules regarding health information have made it difficult to put forth a decent coordinated care model for substance abuse.

In an effort to protect patient information, health data typically cannot be shared, not even between providers treating the same patient.

HHS overhauled the old rule in order to allow for more complete access to patient health information amongst all providers. This overhaul supports a coordinated care effort while still maintaining patient privacy.


What is Care Coordination?

A man covering the benefits of care coordination

In a Coordinated Care system like the Massachusetts model, information regarding a patient’s symptoms, treatments, and other activity is safely shared amongst all the providers treating a patient.

This process gives the entire care team the ability to see the big picture with the patient and allows them to more effectively treat the patient.

As previously stated, many people living with SUDs don’t seek treatment directly for their addiction. Perhaps allowing communication between providers and healthcare systems will allow physicians to have a clearer idea of how to treat the patient.


How is Care Coordination Beneficial to Those With Substance Use Disorders?

You might be wondering how an integrated coordinated care system will do any good as a substance abuse care plan, and we are happy to explain.


Patient Engagement

When patients are able to actually seek care coordination and receive treatment for their SUDs, it also allows the providers and care team to gain valuable experience in treating the patients.

The patient has more opportunities to engage with members of the treatment team, allowing for a more robust treatment plan.


Support Services

Suppose a patient goes to their regular doctor for a normal health checkup, and in the process of the exam, the doctor realizes that there is a problem with substance abuse. Instead of referring the patient to someone he is not familiar with, the doctor can reach out to a mental health advocate or addiction specialist on the care team in order to determine the best path forward for the patient.

Forget a simple doctor’s office visit, coordinated care teams are ready to offer support services to get you where you want to be.


Targeting Gaps in Care

Substance use disorder tends to come alongside mental health disorders. When asked, 8.5 million Americans report that they suffer with a mental health disorder as well as a substance use disorder.

When the addiction issue can be tackled at the same time as anxiety or depression, this neatly closes gaps in care and makes it more convenient for Americans to get what they need.


What Comes Next?

At Landmark Recovery, we have the knowledge, staff, skills, and tools necessary to help anyone make it through their substance use disorder. We use malleable treatment strategies, and we can easily team up with coordinated care providers, too.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please reach out to us right now. We are ready and waiting to help you get beyond your substance use disorder. Call us today at 888-448-0302 and get back on track.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.