A Louisville treatment center is among the first programs in the nation to be certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
The Volunteers of America Mid-States’ Freedom House serves women with substance use disorder and who are also pregnant or have young children.
Freedom House was included in the first phase of a pilot program designed to standardize treatment for substance use disorder. The society’s president Dr. Paul H. Earley said an evaluator visits a facility to ensure treatment is comprehensive and effective.
Traditionally, he said, treatment of addiction centered on a 28-day inpatient program. By treating addiction more as a chronic disease, such as diabetes, programs can be tailored to match an individual’s needs across a spectrum of options.
“So the standards have not existed in our field,” he said. Such standards are especially important now as the federal government is increasing investing in treatment.
Kentucky was one of five states which last month was awarded a share of $87 million to help stop overdose deaths. The money came from the National Institutes for Health under the HEAL program, or Helping to End Addiction Long-term.
Earley said the lack of standardized care has allowed centers of varying quality to operate and be paid at the same rate. The certification process encourages programs to use methods established by research and have results that can be measured.
“So what we’re doing is ensuring quality care. And when you go to the hospital to get a specific type of care, that’s the care you get,” he said. “What we’re doing is bringing quality and consistency to addiction care at a time when we need it most.”
People seeking treatment will also see a benefit.
“The advantage to the public is they can choose a center, which gives quality care,” he said, adding it will also be the kind of care that offers a range of options to patients.
About 30 hospitals will be evaluated in Phase 2. Earley said eventually people will be able to search for certified programs online.