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Unpacking the New NAATP Guidebook for Addiction Treatment Providers and Consumers

Since 1978, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) has been working to advance addiction services and support its membership of service providers. To that end, NAATP has launched The Addiction Treatment Provider Quality Assurance Guidebook: A Guide to the Core Competencies for the Delivery of Addiction Treatment Services.

Where did the NAATP Guidebook come from?

This new Guidebook was created under the NAATP’s Quality Assurance Initiative, which was created in 2018 to create high standards for addiction treatment providers and services. The Initiative aims to promote best business practices, prevent unethical and substandard practices, help payers assess addiction treatment services, and educate both consumers and providers.

How should you use the NAATP Guidebook?

NAATP created the Guidebook as part of its efforts to improve addiction treatment quality and help protect consumers. This document includes directions for addiction treatment providers seeking to apply best practices, measure patient outcomes, and operate their practices ethically.

NAATP membership also requires adherence to its Guidelines, in addition to other licensing, accreditation, and Ethics Code compliance. Therefore, it’s recommended that all NAATP members familiarize themselves with the contents of the Guidebook.

NAATP also aims for the Guidebook to help inform members of Congress as they debate solutions to the U.S. addiction crisis. This crisis includes not only the opioid epidemic, but unscrupulous organizations or providers who would seek to take advantage of vulnerable individuals and families families. NAATP has delivered its Guidebook to all members of Congress with an explanatory letter.

What information does the NAATP Guidebook contain?

In its efforts to improve the quality and ethics of addiction treatment providers and organizations, the Guidebook identifies core competencies for all addiction treatment providers in nine categories. These include:
Operations, which covers organizational culture, licensing, and the physical facilities
Admissions and Patient Screening, which addresses appropriate screening throughout treatment, monitoring progress, and prevention of both over- and under-providing
Employment, Training, and Credentialing, which includes issues such as staff salaries, hiring former patients, and training for non-clinical staff
Billing, which includes calculating the cost of service, billing for toxicology, and collecting copays
Discharge and Continuing Care, including discharge planning and appropriately placing patients within the continuum of care
Outcomes Measures, including how to collect and analyze patient outcomes to improve program efficacy and inform the public
Community Engagement, Public Relations, and Public Policy, which addresses how to establish relationships with other medical community members, destigmatize addiction, and advocate for patients and the organization
Marketing, Advertising, and Visibility, which focuses on avoiding misleading marketing practices, promoting transparency, preserving brand integrity, working with third-party marketers, and avoiding any form of remuneration for patient referrals
Ethics, which covers adherence to the NAATP Code of Ethics

All of these categories include 32 specific Guidelines, as well as a list of resources for providers that seek to understand the Guidebook and follow its contents.

The full text of the Guidebook is available online through the NAATP website.

Does your practice follow NAATP standards?

BestNotes is proud to be a member of NAATP, which means that our EHR and CRM solutions are built to adhere to the association’s rigorous standards in support of addiction treatment providers. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions or schedule a free demo.

date:  Nov 26, 2019
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The Use of Motivational Interviewing in Behavioral Health

The BestNotes blog has been exploring different types of therapy used by addiction treatment and behavioral health providers. This time, we’re looking at motivational interviewing (MI).

Motivational Interviewing Overview
MI is a type of counseling that helps individuals resolve conflicting beliefs or feelings that have prevented healthy behavioral changes. It can be applied to individuals who are unmotivated, unwilling, or unprepared to make necessary changes in their lives.

Rather than trying to compel or direct clients toward changing their behavior, a therapist or counselor uses MI to guide a patient or client through their feelings and help them examine the need for change. Clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick are often credited for helping to develop this approach.

Who Motivational Interviewing Is For
According to some sources, MI was originally developed to address people struggling with alcohol problems. However, MI can help many other individuals who struggle to make necessary changes in their lives, including those with:

Addiction and substance abuse
Behavioral and mental health concerns
Chronic physical conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, that often require lifestyle changes

What Motivational Interviewing Involves
MI counseling involves a few basic ideas and assumptions:

Ambivalence toward one’s substance use, or changing substance use, is normal and common
Counselors can help individuals resolve their ambivalence by exploring and addressing their individual, inner motivations and values
The counselor and the patient are allies and equal collaborators in the counseling process
Change is most likely when the counselor is empathic, supportive, and yet directive, without arguing or confronting aggressively, which may make patients defensive and so hinder their progress

In their book, Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People To Change Addictive Behavior, Miller and Rollnick note that MI should involve persuasion and support, not coercion and arguments. They write, “The motivational interviewer must proceed with a strong sense of purpose, clear strategies and skills for pursuing that purpose, and a sense of timing to intervene in particular ways at incisive moments.”

During MI sessions, the counselor or motivational interviewer will encourage the patient to talk about their need to change their behavior and why they want to change. An MI clinician should take care to use reflective listening and empathy to help the patient see the discrepancy between their goals or values and their current behavior.

How Motivational Interviewing Works

MI aims to help increase a person’s motivation to change, and then encourage them to commit to change. By helping a patient explore their conflicting feelings and the necessity for change, MI can help encourage self-efficacy and optimism.

While the effectiveness of MI therapy needs more research, existing studies have shown positive results. One study of MI found that it “outperforms traditional advice giving” for several diseases and behavioral health issues.

While it can be combined with other types of therapies, including cognitive therapy and support groups, MI is usually short-term. In many cases, only one or two sessions may be needed.

Does Your EHR Work With Your Treatment Approach?

No two patients, clinicians, or treatment approaches are exactly alike. That’s why BestNotes EHR solutions offer many customization options to help you work more effectively and improve profitability. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a d

date:  Nov 19, 2019
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Could Artificial Intelligence Supplement Behavioral Health Treatment?

As awareness increases and stigma decreases, more people in need are seeking behavioral health services. At the same time, the number of behavioral health clinicians and other resources have not been keeping up with demand. Many areas of the country, especially rural locations, continue to be underserved.

The healthcare industry has been leveraging newer technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to help streamline many tasks. AI has been used to manage and analyze large numbers of patient data, or help providers take notes with speech recognition capabilities.

So could AI also be used to supplement behavioral health services?

Using artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare

We’ve previously talked about AI on the BestNotes blog. This term usually applies to computers and software that can imitate the “intelligent” functions of humans, such as learning and problem solving.

When used in healthcare, AI often helps analyze large amounts of complicated data to help with predictions and diagnostics. It is also used with virtual assistants (VAs) that understand voice commands and even “learn” the user’s habits or preferences.

Using AI in behavioral health and addiction treatment

Despite the personal nature of behavioral health, it has not been immune to digitization. In recent years, funding for mental health tech startups has grown from nearly $100 million in 2014 to more than $500 million in 2018.

As AI technology advances, researchers are finding more ways to apply it within the healthcare industry. Researchers with the World Well-Being Project wrote in the journal PNAS how they incorporated language from the Facebook posts of consenting individuals to create an AI algorithm. This algorithm accurately predicted depression recorded in electronic health records.

AI may even help supplement the “soft skills” of communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution that are vital for behavioral health. At the University of Waterloo in Ontario, computer scientists developed a new method for VAs that could be used to help people with mental illness. SMERTI (pronounced “Smarty”) takes a text response from a VA and adjusts its “personality” so that it uses natural language and emotional cues based on the relationship and situations involved. This allows the technology to better “connect” with users.

This follows the general trend of a growing number of Americans using technology to influence their health decisions. That also includes increasing popularity for virtual therapy options, which include chatbots, text-based messaging, and video counseling sessions.

By creating technology that responds to users’ needs with more emotional intelligence, researchers and developers may make behavioral health solutions more accessible. While this tech may not be a fully adequate substitute for working directly, in person with a behavioral health clinician, it may still help reduce the burden for providers and improve patient outcomes.

Stay up-to-date with your behavioral health EHR

BestNotes EHR and CRM solutions were designed with the behavioral health and addiction treatment provider in mind. BestNotes’ many features offer peace of mind for both providers and patients, allowing you to provide better care and streamline your office operations. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a free demo.

date:  Nov 12, 2019
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Medication-Assisted Treatment Works for Opioid Addiction, But Isn’t Used Enough

While medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been found effective for opioid addiction, new research also shows that it continues to be underused.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Works for Opioid Misuse and Addiction
The FDA has approved the drugs naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone for use in MAT. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), MAT has been shown to:

Improve patient survival
Help individuals stay in addiction treatment
Help reduce criminal activity among people with substance use disorders
Increase a patient’s ability to get and keep a job
Improve birth outcomes in pregnant women with substance use disorders

Recent Findings on MAT Underutilization

In the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers reported that MAT drugs are effective, but are not applied as frequently as they should be. Their findings were based on a review of data from the available medical literature about MAT.

The researchers, led by Tyler Oesterle, MD, medical director of Mayo Clinic Health System’s Fountain Centers drug and alcohol treatment programs, pointed out that each drug has strengths and weaknesses. Clinicians should weigh the risks and benefits of each drug for each patient suffering from an opioid use disorder.

Why MAT Is Underutilized
Despite its effectiveness, there are persistent barriers to widespread MAT use in the United States.

Misinformation
Critics of MAT often say that the technique simply substitutes one drug for another. However, MAT actually helps relieve withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings associated with opioid misuse. With MAT medications, patients have a safe, managed way to overcome opioid abuse.

Research indicates that, at the appropriate dose, MAT does not adversely affect a patient’s mental or physical functioning. This can help patients lead fulfilling, productive lives without opioid dependence.

However, this misinformation leads to stigma that may prevent people from getting the help they need through MAT. For example, many drug courts do not allow patients to be referred to this type of treatment for substance abuse.

Limited Access

Patients struggling with opioid misuse may not have access to an MAT provider. The three drugs used in MAT can only be dispensed through an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) certified by the SAMHSA and accredited by a SAMHSA-approved accrediting body.

Federal, state, and local regulations also limit the number of MAT providers. Practitioners must receive a waiver to practice opioid dependency treatment with approved medications, which requires an application and training process. Under the SUPPORT Act, non-physician practitioners have received greater flexibility in providing MAT, though this still requires them to receive a waiver and fulfill other requirements.

Treatment providers and behavioral health organizations also may lack the funding to begin prescribing MAT or launch an MAT program. One study from 2009-2010 found that many funding policies “are unsupportive of the implementation of MAT,” which limits availability.
The National Council offers a variety of resources for behavioral health and addiction treatment organizations and other healthcare providers that are considering incorporating MAT into their practices.

Serving Addiction Treatment and Behavioral Health Clients

Whether you offer MAT, talk therapy, or a combination of treatments for substance misuse, your EHR system should help, not hinder, your practice. Contact BestNotes today to get started with EHR and CRM solutions tailored to your specific needs.

date:  Nov 04, 2019
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