Marvin Ventrell, executive director of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), is hammering away at a new three-year strategic plan for the organization. He says it’s time.
“NAATP was founded in 1978 with two objectives: member service and systemic policy function,” he tells Behavioral Healthcare. “It was needed then, and it’s needed now.”
Now headquartered in Denver, NAATP serves 300 member treatment programs and 600 treatment sites.
As part of the refresh, the organization is working with an outside branding firm to redesign the logo and work through the exercise of defining NAATP’s place in the market. The logo and the three-year plan will be unveiled at the NAATP National Leadership Conference in May 2016.
Ventrell says part of the future plan includes: execution of an outcomes pilot program; case studies related to parity laws; and efforts to synthesize—rather than polarize—positions on medication-assisted treatment.
With 12 member organizations participating, the outcomes pilot will test an instrument to track long-term recovery results. One goal will be to collect data that is more nuanced than just a yes-or-no question about abstinence and to publish findings in a peer reviewed journal. Data collection could begin as early as March 2016.
“We will be transparent about it,” Ventrell says. “Let it be picked apart if it needs to be picked apart.”
Another issue NAATP will continue to track is parity, and it’s working with the Parity Implementation Coalition to collect case studies that might offer guidance on the application of prevailing parity laws. What’s difficult about parity is knowing which benchmarks to use to ensure mental health and addiction treatment has benefit coverage that is on-par with medical treatment.
“It might be hard to demonstrate what parity is, but we know what it’s not,” Ventrell says.
He believes there are many situations today in which health insurers are illegally denying coverage of recommended care, and there are no formal audit processes available. While patients might be able to appeal a denial, that takes time and doesn’t always result in an approval the second time around. According to Ventrell, physicians say they have no recourse now except for class-action law suits.
NAATP recently issued a statement reiterating that it supports the use of evidence-based methods for the treatment of addiction, which includes MAT when used as part of a holistic approach. Members have long endorsed the model. Ventrell says MAT belongs in the Recovery Oriented System of Care, and his challenge as the leader of NAATP will likely be to foster the collective acceptance among members for proven treatments that help those with addiction.