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NAADAC joins effort to ready providers for healthcare reform

March 24, 2014
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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As the addiction treatment field changes ever so quickly with the help of healthcare reform, new tools are being set out for organizations to gain the skills they need to be able to compete in today’s marketplace. One of the newest tools comes from a collaboration between NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals; and Via Positiva, LLC., an organization made up of executive-level consultants, coaches and trainers throughout the United States.

The two groups came together to form the Addiction Professional Business Learning Collaborative, after years of conversations between NAADAC Executive Director Cynthia Moreno Tuohy and Via Positiva CEO Jim Clarkson.

Clarkson, who recently left his position as Vice President of managed behavioral healthcare company ValueOptions in order to fulfill his personal vision of helping providers, noted that as he worked with substance use disorder treatment providers, “I was really struck by the incredible mission-driven providers, oftentimes using evidence-based practices and doing incredible work in their communities and then bumping up against the opportunities and challenges adherent in healthcare reform.”

At the annual NAADAC conference last fall, Clarkson presented a full-day training program and found that participants were interested in more. Hence, the new Business Learning Collaborative is a six-month intensive, interactive training program that seeks to help organizations maximize the current funding and service opportunities inherent in healthcare reform and to identify and address barriers to growth.

Although there are other training programs and initiatives that exist, such as the initiatives sponsored by the quality improvement collaborative NIATx, Clarkson and Tuohy believe that this program is unique in many ways. For one, Tuohy says that there’s a need for an intense program such as this because not every agency has the same background in terms of sophistication. “We wanted to make sure that everyone gets to the marketplace,” she explains.

The program, which is limited to 25 participating organizations, is focusing on the “nuts and bolts” of the field, according to Clarkson. The topics of training will include:

  • diversification,
  • sustainability strategies,
  • claims/billing/insurance,
  • integration,
  • partnerships,
  • marketing,
  • how to partner with managed care, and,
  • addressing barriers that may arise around utilization review or closed networks.

The “big deliverables” that NAADAC and Via Positiva are helping providers to develop are a fiscal growth plan and sustainability plan. In order to measure the success of the program, they will look for an increased funding stream and increased revenue for participants in the 12 months that follow the program.

Another aspect that Clarkson believes makes this program unique, is the fact that it is a collaborative for addiction professionals led by addiction professionals. “We’ve talked about how healthcare reform is really the preeminent challenge and opportunity probably in our lifetime for those of us in the healthcare world,” Clarkson explains. “We felt that a collaborative of this nature is really important so that we can both build on an old history of the addiction profession and build on that uniquely as well.”

Applications to participate will be accepted through April 17, when the program begins. The organizations chosen to participate won’t be decided on a “first come, first served” basis but rather based on those that appear to be the most ready and willing to learn.

After looking at the completed applications, which include many questions about the agency itself and its readiness to engage in an intensive project such as this, selections will be based on “what they’re looking for, who their team is, how they see themselves participating, etc.,” explains Tuohy.

The participants will have access to a mix of training and development webinars, small group sessions led by Business Learning Collaborative Coaches, consultation and strategic planning calls that are specifically dedicated to each organizations sustainability and growth, and informational “fireside chats” that will allow for open exchanges with decision makers, thought leaders, regulators and recovery-oriented professionals.

Besides Tuohy and Clarkson who are the two lead trainers, professionals leading the various groups include:

  • Trudy Soole, director at Soole Solutions and a Native American therapist and healer
  • Ben Dorrington, director of referral relations at Wilderness Treatment Center (Marion, Mont.)
  • Mary Woods, CEO at WestBridge Community Services (Manchester, N.H.)
  • Philip Herschman, chief clinical officer at CRC Health Group
  • Barbara Mondragon, national grants management practice leader at ValueOptions
  • Deb Adler, senior vice president at Optum
  • Steven Rosenberg, president of Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (Oakland, Calif.)

There will also be trainers who will present information and will lead discussions on the topic of how to prepare or fine tune electronic health records (EHRs).