21 million Americans have a substance use disorder.
Dear Health Care Executive,
Despite increased awareness around the opioid epidemic, the Federal Government recently released their annual data showing that a nearly 90% addiction treatment gap in America persists. That means, on average, only approximately 10% of people in our community who meet medical criteria for substance use disorder receive any specialty medical care at all for what is now the leading cause of death for those under 50.
The landmark Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, Facing Addiction In America, synthesizes decades of research and clear protocols about what works in intervention, treatment, and recovery support. The report also includes a robust call-to-action to integrate and coordinate addiction health services across a long-term continuum of care similar to other chronic disease models.
The undersigned concerned stakeholders in our community request your leadership team’s attention on the following three questions:
- Are you collecting data for how many people passed away from overdoses in our community within 90 days of interacting with your health care system?
- Are you collecting data for what percentage of ER visits are related to alcohol and other drugs? What percent of these patients were discharged with a robust treatment and recovery plan?
- Are you collecting data on the percentage of patients your primary care providers identified with a substance use disorder last year? Were any of these patients engaged in person-centered treatment and recovery plans?
The intent in asking these questions is to begin a discussion about solving systemic issues for addiction health services in our community. Healthcare payers, industry stakeholders, and health systems have come together and organized the Alliance for Recovery-Centered Addiction Health Services to develop and promote an innovative approach to payment and delivery of addiction treatment and recovery services.
We request your leadership team form a workgroup to explore this pressing issue in our community and potential pathways to addressing the persistent addiction treatment gap.