RTI International and partners to develop first U.S. rating system for addiction treatment providers

December 18, 2018

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK -- RTI International, a leading independent, nonprofit research institute, is now working with Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation caused by addiction, to create a user-friendly tool to help people find quality addiction treatment. 

The tool, the first-ever U.S. rating system for evaluating addiction treatment providers, will function much like other rating tools used for evaluating nursing homes, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, or long-term care hospitals. It will be designed to bring transparency to addiction treatment systems and to promote market competition to drive higher quality care.

“Consumers can find accurate data on the quality of nursing homes, hospitals, physicians, physical rehab facilities, hospice, and most other types of providers,” said Tami Mark, senior director of Behavioral Health Financing and Quality Research at RTI International. “With the opioid epidemic raging, and effective treatment available that can reduce opioid addiction-related death rates by half, it’s critical that patients have reliable information to find effective addiction treatment.”

RTI will use its deep expertise in substance use disorder research and quality measurement to lead the analytics for this project. RTI’s experts will participate with the National Quality Forum in selecting meaningful, valid, and reliable quality measures. The RTI team will then design and implement a data collection approach for each data contributor (Medicaid programs, private health plans, addiction treatment providers, and consumers). RTI will also research how different users would like the information presented to help inform their choices. For example, the tool will help patients select the highest quality appropriate addiction treatment, help private health plans and Medicaid programs know which addiction providers to contract with, and help addiction providers understand opportunities for improving the quality of addiction treatment.

“People who need help for addiction don’t know what to look for or where to turn,” said Samantha Arsenault, director of National Treatment Quality Initiatives at Shatterproof. “We are taking rating system best practices from healthcare and other business sectors and applying them to the addiction treatment. This will not only provide critical information to individuals looking for care but drive a long overdue transformation to the addiction treatment industry.”

Shatterproof will pilot this rating system in five states through a public-private partnership with state leadership and commercial insurance carriers before expanding nationally. The project is estimated to be complete in 18-24 months.

The $5M project has been made possible with the funding of two foundations and a coalition of six national health insurers, including the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson FoundationAnthem, Inc., Beacon Health Options, Cigna, Magellan Health, and UnitedHealth Group.

To find out more information on this project and stay updated as it progresses please visit www.shatterproof.org/