An addiction treatment locator, analysis, and standards tool to help people find high-quality addiction treatment and help providers navigate to better quality care
Decades of research prove that addiction can be treated with the same effectiveness as other chronic diseases, like diabetes or hypertension. But unlike these other conditions, addiction is heavily stigmatized, and the use of evidence-based best practices in addiction treatment programs across the United States varies widely. Currently there are no clear standards of quality across the addiction treatment space, nor standard assessment of program quality.
Patients and family members seeking care often struggle to understand available treatment options. Resources don’t exist for the public to easily identify high quality addiction treatment programs, and it’s difficult to navigate through potential misinformation. Further, market forces are not currently aligned with best practices, slowing innovation and quality improvement.
ATLAS® provides standardized information about services available at all types of treatment facilities and how these offerings align with what science shows leads to the best patient outcomes. This system will drive improvement among treatment facilities by increasing accountability and transparency, as well as supporting providers in their own quality improvement efforts. It will also supply states with the information necessary to recognize gaps and target technical assistance resources or change policy, and give payers the opportunity to incentivize high quality.
How it works
By displaying transparent and standardized information about addiction treatment facilities, ATLAS will show whether or not each facility offers services that align with proven, evidence-based best practices outlined in our Principles of Care©.
ATLAS will allow the public to report on their experiences with addiction treatment facilities. It will be searchable by location, insurance provider, and other factors that are important to the public. The system will be easy for the public to understand and free for them to use.
ATLAS will also feature password-protected portals for addiction treatment providers, payers, and states. Within their portal, addiction treatment providers can access their own data, in order to compare their facility to their peers’ and inform internal quality improvement efforts. Payers can use their portal to access data about programs in their network to recognize and reward better performance. States can use their portal to access data to inform treatment access and other state-based initiatives, such as provision of technical assistance resources. ATLAS will incentivize change and improvement of the treatment system as a whole by increasing transparency around the delivery of an agreed upon set of best practices.
Our approach to this system builds upon best practices used by quality comparison websites in healthcare and other industries, and provides reliable and valid information in a user-friendly way.
Publicly available health quality reporting has been in existence in the U.S. since 1987, when the Health Care Financing Administration, now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), released nationwide hospital-specific mortality data. Following controversy over the public release of this information, efforts for improvement began, and quality reporting models started to evolve. There are now hundreds of reporting initiatives focused on a variety of healthcare services and settings and utilizing a range of methodologies. Building off of lessons learned from decades of health quality reporting, Shatterproof has developed an approach to collect and report accurate, comprehensive data on addiction treatment.
ATLAS will utilize data from three sources: insurance claims, Treatment Facility Survey, and patient experience survey (or crowdsourcing). Our Treatment Facility Survey will ask treatment facilities to self-report on various data points. Facilities that do not respond to the survey will still be listed on the public-facing website, with an indication that this quality data is not available.
ATLAS will utilize a mixed-method approach to ensure it captures as much quality information as possible, given the fragmentation of the addiction treatment system. Importantly, it will examine treatment facilities offering treatment for any substance use disorder, not just those who offer treatment for opioid use disorder. Some of the measures included in ATLAS are specific to opioid use disorder and these will be marked as such.
- This project will be piloted in a select number of states before expanding nationally. These are: Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and West Virginia. These states were selected based on numerous criteria, including likelihood of ensuring the success of the pilot and demonstrated potential to scale ATLAS after the pilot.
- During this first phase of the project, ATLAS will be free to all users.
- Shatterproof is working closely with all addiction treatment stakeholders, including providers, patient advocates, and payers in all of our pilot states to ensure a successful and collaborative implementation.
- ATLAS will be launched in spring of 2020.
This roughly $5 million project is being led by Shatterproof and is supported by Arnold Ventures and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as a group of health insurers: Aetna, a CVS Health business; Anthem, Inc.; Beacon Health Options; Cigna; Magellan Health; and UnitedHealth Group. These insurers do not have a governance role in the project. In North Carolina, the project is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
Our analytics partner in developing and launching ATLAS is RTI International (RTI). RTI is an independent research institute with national expertise in quality measurement and substance use disorders. RTI currently supports five national health quality reporting efforts and one large private rating system. RTI has developed and obtained National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsements for over 40 quality measures that use data from provider assessments, claims data, and consumer surveys. RTI leads large-scale quality measure collection efforts with healthcare providers including supporting over 3,000 providers in reporting measures for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) project. RTI employs over 250 staff focused on substance use research, including addiction psychiatrists, former behavioral health directors, economists, epidemiologists, psychologists, and survey researchers.