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ASAM Applauds Congressional Oversight Hearing on Addiction Treatment Facilities and Calls on Senate to Act Quickly on Legislation

July 24, 2018

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ASAM Applauds Congressional Oversight Hearing on Addiction Treatment Facilities and Calls on Senate to Act Quickly on Legislation


Effectively addressing the disease of addiction means treatment facilities must provide standardized, evidence-based care to patients


Rockville, MD (July 24, 2018) –– The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) applauds the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for reviewing advertising and marketing practices of addiction treatment programs in the United States (US) in its hearing titled “Examining Advertising and Marketing Practices within the Substance Use Treatment Industry.” The hearing is part of Congress’s ongoing effort to ensure addiction treatment facilities abide by appropriate standards and provide evidence-based treatment. Due to similar concerns regarding the promotional practices of some addiction treatment programs in the US, ASAM recently released a Public Policy Statement on Ethical Promotion and Patient Recruitment by Addiction Treatment Programs.


“As policymakers take historic action to address the devastating effects of addiction, it is critical that all addiction treatment facilities provide evidence-based care in a fair, transparent, and ethical way,” said Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “By implementing a quality-driven national addiction treatment infrastructure, we can empower patients and their families with information on how to identify and access high-quality treatment.”


As Congress continues its important work, the US suffers from an opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that is one of the most challenging public health crises of our time. Reforms are urgently needed to strengthen the United States’ addiction treatment infrastructure and ensure that patients receive effective, individualized care for substance use disorder.  That’s why ASAM commends the United States House of Representatives for recognizing the magnitude and urgency of this public health crisis by passing bipartisan legislation to help bolster our addiction treatment infrastructure. ASAM now calls on the United States Senate to act quickly to pass meaningful, comprehensive legislation to combat this epidemic.  Our nation’s providers, patients, and their families cannot wait.  Lives are at risk.


To do its part, ASAM will continue to develop and advocate for new tools, policies, and resources to improve addiction treatment and help key stakeholders ensure that the care being delivered is consistent with ASAM guidelines and standards.  ASAM has already developed the nation’s most comprehensive and widely used research-validated criteria––The ASAM Criteria––which helps medical professionals provide outcome-oriented and results-based addiction care. The ASAM Criteria is used by clinicians and payers across all care settings and is required for patient assessments in more than 30 states for publicly funded treatment placement. 


While The ASAM Criteria has established a critical foundation for building a quality-driven national addiction treatment infrastructure, there is much more work to do to ensure providers have the tools, policies, and resources necessary to implement The ASAM Criteria fully and to deliver the correct set of services for a particular level of care.  In the spirit of improving appropriate patient access to the full continuum of care while strengthening standards, ASAM continues to support a partial repeal of the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion for those residential treatment programs that can provide substance use disorder treatment consistent with nationally-recognized, evidence-based standards, such as The ASAM Criteria.  ASAM strongly recommends that any final IMD legislation should ensure that treatment provider assessments for all addiction treatment services, levels of care, and length-of-stay recommendations, as well as methods of residential treatment program qualification, are aligned with ASAM’s Criteria, or other equivalent criteria. 


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About ASAM

The American Society of Addiction Medicine, founded in 1954, is a professional society representing over 5,500 physicians, clinicians, and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction. For more information, visit www.ASAM.org.


About The ASAM Criteria

The ASAM Criteria, Treatment Criteria for Addictive, Substance-Related, and Co-Occurring Conditions was established in the 1990s to define one national set of criteria for providing outcome-oriented and results-based care in the treatment of addiction. Today, The ASAM Criteria is the most widely used and comprehensive set of guidelines for placement, continued stay and transfer/discharge of patients with addiction and co-occurring conditions. For more information, visit https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria.  


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