Task Force seeks principles for quality addiction treatment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Substance Use Disorder Treatment Task Force held its first meeting yesterday to begin the process of improving addiction treatment quality for the 21 million Americans with substance use disorders.

Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof, launched the Task Force in April 2017 to help bring together public and private payers, advocates and former government officials. The Pew Charitable Trusts, a member of the Task Force, convened yesterday’s kickoff meeting at their Washington, D.C. office. The meeting included a comprehensive discussion of principles of care for quality addiction treatment.

“This is a historic moment. I am thrilled that so many knowledgeable experts and leaders in the field are dedicated to finding a workable path to solving this deadly epidemic,” said Gary Mendell, CEO of Shatterproof and founder of the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Task Force. “While the public sector has failed to address today’s opioid crisis, the private sector is taking the lead in finding a solution. The goal of this meeting wasn’t to produce another white paper, but a tactical plan with measurable goals for payers to follow and implement. I am encouraged by today’s discussions and look forward to working with Task Force members in the coming weeks to reach a consensus on the principles of care.”

“Drugs and alcohol kill more Americans every year than cars and guns, and yet a practical action plan to address this epidemic as a country has not been implemented,” said Thomas McLellan, PhD, founder and chairman of the Treatment Research Institute who served as the Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Obama. “Addiction is an acquired chronic illness that requires personalized and continued care, and it is shameful that those facing substance use disorders are not guaranteed to receive quality, evidence-based treatment. To correct this issue, payers, legislators, providers and the general public must understand and demand the types of treatment that lead to full recovery and that are worth paying for. The commitment seen at today’s meeting is proof that payers also want to support effective, high value care.”

Members of the Task Force outlined and discussed principles of care to ensure high quality treatment around substance use disorders. All of the principles discussed are evidenced-based quality measures, supported by bodies of research over the past 30 years, including the recommendations found in the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, published in November 2016.

Meeting attendees also reached an agreement on the scope of work of the Task Force, as well as the phases moving forward to ensure continued progress. Additionally, they have committed to further discussing the principles of care internally to reach a consensus and officially sign onto the principles in the coming weeks.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment Task Force members in attendance included:

  • Gary Mendell, Shatterproof
  • Thomas McLellan, Treatment Research Institute (TRI)
  • Michael Botticelli, Grayken Treatment Center
  • Steve Bentsen, Beacon
  • Lindsey Browning, National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD)
  • Jay Butler, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
  • Kelly Clark, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Sherry Dubester, Anthem
  • Mark Friedlander, Aetna
  • Chris Hocevar, Cigna
  • Mostafa Kamal, Magellan
  • Donald Markum, Blue Cross Blue Shield MA
  • Penny Mills, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Doug Nemacek, Cigna
  • John O’Brien, Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC)
  • Daniel Polsky, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
  • Martin Rosenzweig, Optum
  • Stacy Sterling, Kaiser Permanente
  • Nick Szubiak, National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH)
  • Betty Tai, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • Dana Thomas, Anthem
  • Mason Turner, Kaiser Permanente

For more info about the Task Force, please visit: https://www.shatterproof.org/substance-use-disorder-treatment-task-force

About Gary Mendell:

Gary Mendell is the founder and CEO of Shatterproof. He founded Shatterproof to spare others the tragedy his family suffered with the loss of his son Brian to addiction in 2011. Mr. Mendell is an experienced businessman and CEO who founded HEI Hotels & Resorts and is the former president of Starwood Lodging Trust.

About Shatterproof:

Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastation the disease of addiction causes families. Shatterproof works to end the stigma and foster a community of support, providing evidence-based resources to support prevention, treatment and recovery. Shatterproof advocates for changes in policy at the federal and state level and supports the development and implementation of evidence-based solutions for substance use disorders.