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ACTION Campaign Meets Initial Goal to Enlist 500 Agencies Nationwide

January 24, 2008

In the four short months since its launch in October 2007, the University of Wisconsin–Madison-based ACTION Campaign to combat substance abuse has already met its initial goal to enlist 500 agencies nationwide.

“Our original projections were to recruit 500 agencies over an 18-month period,” says Campaign Director Kim Johnson. “With this early success, we are optimistic that we can easily grow to 1,000 agencies or more over the next year.”

The ACTION Campaign — short for Adopting Changes to Improve Outcomes Now — is an unprecedented, cross-sector partnership among NGOs, foundations, and government agencies. Among the partners are the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), the Legal ACTION Center, the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx), the National Council on Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH), and the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).

Previous research completed by NIATx at UW–Madison suggests that one small improvement in each of the 500 agencies is expected to make a difference in the lives of 55,000 people affected by substance abuse.

Bill Rowan, program director for Outpatient/Intensive Outpatient Counseling Services at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, was among the first to enroll his agency in the Campaign.

“The ACTION Campaign allows me to connect with others in the field who face the same problems,” adds Rowan. “It has shown us things that we can try to have the same kind of success we’re hearing about from others.”

Rowan and his staff have used the step-by-step instructions provided through the ACTION Web site and technical assistance calls to conduct a walk-through of their agency admission process and test a promising practice to reduce the waiting time between referrals and access to service.

“We are looking at this harder than we ever have in the past, and that’s all due to getting new ideas from the ACTION tutorial calls every week,” says Rowan. “We think that if we can reduce time to treatment, we will also see a positive effect on our bottom line.”

Johnson is pleased with participant response to the campaign tools. “We are hearing more and more from participants who are beginning to see the value of using these tools. People make one of the changes and get really jazzed about the impact. I can’t think of another effort that I’ve been involved with in our field that has people so full of hope and excitement.”

Adds Rowan, “The ACTION Campaign has given my agency easy access to process improvement expertise and technical assistance. It’s really opened the door for us.”

The ACTION Campaign promotes the national adoption of proven practices for enhancing client access to care and their overall engagement in treatment. The Campaign focuses on one of three outcomes:

1) Rapid access to treatment;

2) Increased engagement by those who are in treatment; and

3) A seamless transition from one stage of care to another.

Agencies that have already made the changes recommended by the campaign have experienced significant improvement in client satisfaction, staff retention, and financial stability.

Tags: health care