Quality & Science

ASAM Releases Report on Performance Measures for Addiction Specialist Physicians

by ASAM Staff | March 26, 2015

ASAM announces the release of its report on “Performance Measures for the Addiction Specialist Physician” that establishes much needed benchmarks for addiction related care. Drafted by a diverse panel of researchers, academicians and performance measure experts, the document describes nine measures that address key areas of concern in health care delivery which, when implemented, will have the potential to improve patient and health care outcomes. 

The release of this report is part of a multi-year initiative by ASAM to help standardize processes for evaluation and management of addiction by physicians and to raise the quality of addiction practice across the nation. “While there are many measures across different areas of health care,” said Dr. Michael Miller, chair of the multi-specialty work group that oversaw the performance measure development, “there are very few that specifically address care provided by the addiction specialist physician.”

And with nearly 1 in 10 Americans suffering from addiction and the related consequences of the disease, there is increased need to access quality addiction care services. According to Dr. Stuart Gitlow, ASAM President, “One driver behind the need for standards of care and performance measures for addiction specialist physicians is the epidemic of prescription drug use and addiction involving heroin and prescription pain killers and the need for specialty consultation.”

The release of the nine performance measures is the next step in a path towards helping standardize and improve addiction practices. ASAM has begun work on a research and development project to test and further specify three of the measures described in the report in order to help bolster their application. Measures for physicians are often linked to financial incentive programs and reimbursement for clinical performance.

“ASAM will continue to work toward assuring that the measures are broadly accepted and adopted in the treatment of patients with addiction,” comments Dr. Corey Waller, chair of the Performance Measures Expert Panel. “This will encourage physicians to make significant improvements in the quality of patient care for the addiction field as well as in the health care system as a whole.”

The Performance Measures for Addiction Specialist Physicians can be accessed here, on ASAM’s website www.asam.org.

The development of the Standards of Care and Performance Measures for Addiction Specialist Physicians by ASAM’s Practice Improvement and Performance Measurement Action Group was supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institute on Drug Dependence.