Health Services Research & Development

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Thomas CP, Ritter GA, Harris AHS, Garnick DW, Freedman KI, Herbert B. Applying American Society of Addiction Medicine Performance Measures in Commercial Health Insurance and Services Data. Journal of addiction medicine. 2018 Jul 1; 12(4):287-294.
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Abstract: OBJECTIVES: ASAM's Standards of Care for the Addiction Specialist established appropriate care for the treatment of substance use disorders. ASAM identified three high priority performance measures for specification and testing for feasibility in various systems using administrative claims: use of pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorder (AUD); use of pharmacotherapy for opioid use disorder (OUD); and continuity of care after withdrawal management services. This study adds to the initial testing of these measures in the Veteran's Health Administration (VHA) by testing the feasibility of specifications in commercial insurance data (Cigna). METHODS: Using 2014 and 2015 administrative data, the proportion of individuals with an AUD or OUD diagnosis each year who filled prescriptions or were dispensed appropriate FDA-approved pharmacotherapy. For withdrawal management follow up, the proportion with an outpatient encounter within seven days was calculated. The sensitivity of specifications was also tested. RESULTS: Rates of pharmacotherapy for AUD ranged from 6.2% to 7.6% (depending on year and specification details), and rates for OUD pharmacotherapy were 25.0% to 29.7%. Seven-day follow up rate after withdrawal management in an outpatient setting was 20.5%, and an additional 39.7% in an inpatient or residential setting. CONCLUSIONS: Application of ASAM specifications is feasible in commercial administrative data. Because of varying system needs and payment practices across health systems, measures may require adjustment for different settings. Moving forward, important focus will be on the continued refinement of these measures with the new ICD-10 coding systems, new formulations of current medications, and new payment approaches such as bundled payment.