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Four Things to Know About the ASAM Criteria Assessment

Four Things to Know About the ASAM Criteria Assessment

posted by: Nicole Hovey date: Oct 24, 2019 category: Blog comments: Comments Off on Four Things to Know About the ASAM Criteria Assessment

As a behavioral health provider, you know that addiction treatment is one of the most complex services in your field. Not only do different patients have different needs, but each type of substance can have varying effects. With so many factors involved, it can be hard to determine the best treatment approach for each patient.

Since the 1980s, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has been working to develop criteria for treating addiction. Here’s what you should know about the ASAM Criteria and how it can help your addiction treatment practice.

1. The ASAM Criteria uses a holistic approach.

ASAM’s assessment for addiction treatment looks at six dimensions that include biology, psychology, and socio-environmental factors. This creates a fuller, more accurate picture of the individual patient.

Dimension 1 examines the patient’s past and current substance use and/or withdrawal
Dimension 2 examines the patient’s current and past physical health status
Dimension 3 examines the patient’s current and past mental health status
Dimension 4 examines whether the patient is willing or ready to change their substance use
Dimension 5 examines the patient’s individual risks of relapse or other continued substance use issues
Dimension 6 examines the patient’s living situation and whether it will contribute to recovery

2. The ASAM Criteria has authority and staying power.

This ASAM Criteria has become the most widely used set of guidelines for placing, treating, and discharging patients with addiction and co-occurring conditions. In fact, ASAM’s criteria are required in over 30 states. Also, many insurers and other payers require some form of ASAM assessment for patients receiving addiction treatment.

ASAM Criteria is continually reviewed and revised through collaboration between ASAM leadership and the Steering Committee of the Coalition for National Clinical Criteria. This coalition has been meeting regularly since 1991 to ensure that the Criteria adequately serves and supports both public and private payers, providers, and patients.

3. ASAM provides several products based on its Criteria.

Using its Criteria, ASAM developed a family of products known as ASAM Continuum® to help clinicians assess patients with substance misuse and co-occurring conditions. Using ASAM Continuum, a treatment team can conduct computer-guided, standardized patient interviews.

These tools include all six dimensions of the ASAM Criteria, as well as research-quality questions and assessments to create a comprehensive patient report that includes a recommended level of care.

Within the Continuum family, ASAM also provides CO-Triage® for referring patients with alcohol and substance problems. Using questions in the CO-Triage tool, clinicians can recommended the ASAM Level of Care to which a patient should be referred.

4. BestNotes is adding ASAM-based assessment.

BestNotes has been working with ASAM to secure copyright permission to build and implement our own ASAM assessment. This new feature will be added to the Documentation section of the BestNotes EHR software by mid-2020.

If you’re a behavioral health or addiction treatment provider seeking a better way to assess and refer patients, BestNotes EHR is here for you. Created specifically for behavioral health and addiction treatment organizations, BestNotes helps you ask the right questions, take better notes, track outcomes, and provide better care so you can make your practice more efficient and improve revenue. Contact us today to learn more, and even schedule a free demo.

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