Mass. Is Now Collecting Data To Measure Quality Of Opioid Abuse Treatments

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Data collection begins Monday for what organizers hope will become the first national rating system for opioid addiction treatment programs.

Massachusetts is one of six states in a pilot program collecting the information from insurance claims, surveys from treatment programs and patients sharing their experiences.

The nonprofit Shatterproof, which organized the effort, plans to use the data to measure the quality of opioid addiction treatment programs around the country. The system will also take into account clinical practices and some of the systems in place in treating patients with substance use disorders.

"We'll actually be looking at all levels of care from methadone maintenance to residential treatment," said Sam Arsenault, vice president of national treatment quality initiatives at Shatterproof, in an interview on WBUR. "Sometimes people are receiving cookie-cutter treatment instead of evidence-based best practices. Eventually people will be able to compare treatment programs in each state."

Arsenault said the ratings system will help address disparities in treatment, such as some programs offering medication assisted treatment (MAT) and others not offering it at all.

"People may think that they're going to an amazing facility, that they're finally going to have the life-saving care that they need and then not have access to those basic core elements that we know are going to help people improve in treating addiction," Arsenault said.

Before the rating system is developed, Arsenault said Shatterproof will start a website with the information it's gathering. She expects to launch the site by May of next year.

This segment aired on October 14, 2019.


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Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.



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