San Clemente, Calif. — The statistics are grim; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. overdose deaths have more than tripled between 1999 and 2015. In 2016, rates continued to rise, with an estimated 65,000 deaths due to overdose; that number is projected to surpass a minimum of 70,000 who will perish due to drug overdose. The best way to counter this scourge, according to an article in the Orange County Business Journal contributor Tonmoy Sharma, M.B.B.S., M.Sc., is to provide measurement-based care to patients with substance use issues.
Dr. Sharma is the CEO of Sovereign Health, a network of highly-regarded behavioral health treatment centers. His article, “Raising the Bar: Accountability and Compliance in Behavioral Health Care Treatment,” appeared in the Healthcare Special Edition issue of the Orange County Business Journal. OCBJ is a weekly print and online newspaper covering businesses in Orange County, CA.
Measurement-based care, a.k.a. MBC, is defined as the practice of basing clinical care on client data collected throughout treatment, and is a core component of evidence-based practices. The concept is simple – collecting data on patients enables providers to understand if treatment is working and adjust it accordingly during the process. Measurement-based care works for any disorder, in any setting.
In addiction treatment, MBC entails eliciting frequent and periodic feedback from patients about their care. Applying measurement-based care involves virtually no cost for the provider and can be applied in any medical setting. The ‘outcome measures’ – checking how treatment is working – is collected from patients. There are many free, brief questionnaires patients answer that help clinicians pin-point what is working and what is not working over the course of treatment. The patient feedback drives clinical decisions throughout the treatment process and care is adjusted as needed.
“MBC has shown to dramatically improve patient outcomes in addiction treatment – up to 67 percent, per some studies,” Dr. Sharma writes. “Yet this approach is not the norm. Per a recent report from the Kennedy Forum titled A National Call for Measurement-Based Care, only 14 percent of clinicians use MBC in treating their patients with substance use disorders.”
The Kennedy Forum report, Sharma says, indicates that the barriers to wide-spread use of MBC is physician resistance to change, the perception that implementing MBC will be expensive and burdensome (which it is not), and ignorance about its efficacy.
Sharma, who has crisscrossed the country presenting on MBC at conferences and community events, says MBC is a highly successful, evidence-based treatment. In the article, he comments about the lack of use of MBC, writing “This is simply unacceptable. There is nothing to lose, except lives and time, in rejecting the call for MBC in addiction treatment. The time is now.”
About Tonmoy Sharma
Dr. Tonmoy Sharma has been recognized with numerous awards, honors and grants for his work in advancing mental health and its treatment in the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia. He is a prolific researcher and scientist as well as the author or co-author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and five books on schizophrenia and mental illness. Dr. Sharma has served on numerous editorial boards, acted as peer reviewer for 14 international medical journals, and has been on various advisory boards governing the development of antipsychotics. He currently co-hosts KABC 790 AM’s “In Your Right Mind,” a cutting-edge, weekly radio show that covers various topics in behavioral health, and was selected by the OCBJ to be listed in the OC500 as one of the most influential people in the Orange County business community in 2016.
About Sovereign Health
Sovereign Health is a network of detox and behavioral health treatment centers that have qualified for the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal accreditation. The company consistently ranks as a top provider of behavioral health services, according to the independent eBasis report from McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate. In McLean’s quarterly reports for 2016, Sovereign has surpassed 50 other treatment centers nationwide in several important health care measures.
Sovereign Health’s facilities are licensed in accordance with state regulations. The Joint Commission is the nation’s leading health care standards-setting and accrediting organization, and sets a very high bar for qualifying for the Gold Seal designation. Sovereign’s extensive national network of nine facilities across five states also enjoys the distinction of being accredited to provide concurrent mental health and substance use treatment, a rarity in the field.
Sovereign Health’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of high-quality behavioral health treatment services for adults and adolescents, including support services for family members. One factor that differentiates Sovereign from other treatment providers has been the company’s ability to offer separate mental health and addiction or dual diagnosis treatment programs at its facilities. For more information, visit www.sovhealth.com.