San Clemente, Calif. — Experts agree that measurement-based care (MBC) is the gold standard in treating people with addictions. Yet, according to a compelling article in the Orange County Business Journal, less than 20 percent of providers actually use an MBC approach when caring for patients with substance use disorder, a stunning revelation at a time when an opioid crisis is sweeping the United States. In addition, the article’s author Tonmoy Sharma, M.B.B.S., M.Sc., tells us, we need to recognize that the face of addiction in America has changed radically over the past two decades.
A New Addiction Paradigm
“The stereotype of people with track-streaked arms perishing in city gutters and crack houses has long given way to a new reality,” Tonmoy Sharma, the Chief Executive Officer of Sovereign Health, writes. “The nightly news is now replete with videos of suburban parents wringing their hands over the picture of their clean-cut high school or college athlete who succumbed to drugs.” Sharma writes in ‘Raising the Bar: Accountability and Compliance in Behavioral Health Care Treatment.’
Author Sharma explains the underpinnings of MBC, and why it is such a successful approach in treating people with substance use disorders. Measurement-based care, he explains, 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, the CEO tells us – collecting data on patients’ feedback about their treatment enables providers to understand if their approach is working and adjust it accordingly during the care process. Measurement-based care works for any disorder, in any setting.
It’s Not Brain Surgery, It’s Data
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 – are 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.
To back up his point, Sharma cites that MBC in treating diabetes is routine; prescribe dietary changes and possibly medication, and periodically check a patient’s blood sugar levels to see how treatment is working. Adjustments to diet and medication are made accordingly. Yet MBC is not the approach used in treating addiction, Sharma notes. He cites provider resistance to change, the perception that implementing MBC is expensive (false) and ignorance about the efficacy of MBC as the main barriers to its implementation.
But Sharma is having none of it, and his admonition is crystal clear. “This is simply unacceptable,” he writes about the limited use of MBC. “There is nothing to lose except lives and time in rejecting the call for MBC in addiction treatment.” And there is no time like the present, he reminds the reader. “The time is now” are his parting words.
Video: Sovereign Health’s Fresh Approach
In the same issue, Alyssa Bochenek, correspondent for Sovereign Media, presents a new video titled, “Sovereign Health Featured in Orange County Business Journal for Measurement Based Care.” The video explains the importance of MBC in the behavioral health treatment industry, including interviews with Guy Bezzar, Patient Services Manager at Sovereign Health, Seth Zajac, General Counsel with Sovereign Health, and Kevin Gallagher, Chief Financial Officer at Sovereign Health.
“We are to give the absolute best care possible. Every individual that works for Sovereign has this thought process, that we are going to go above and beyond to meet this patient’s needs,” said Guy Bezzar in the video when asked about MBC.
In the video, Seth Zajac explains, “This clarion call has not only been heard, but acted upon, because it ensures two important things: one, heightened accountability for providers in this industry, and two, and most important, that patients across the board receive the quality and measured care that they deserve.”
About Tonmoy Sharma
Tonmoy Sharma, has spent years crisscrossing the country presenting on MBC at conferences and community events. His hope is that in the not-too-distant future, clinicians and the public nationwide will embrace MBC as the highly successful, evidence-based treatment that is the best approach to treating addiction and mental health issues.
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.