Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, created a blueprint for the effective treatment of addiction with "Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health," published last November. Now, Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Shatterproof, is convening a task force to put the Murthy’s words into action.
After losing a son to addiction in 2011, Mendell, a hotel industry executive, launched Shatterproof in 2013. His goals were to advocate for laws at the state level that would reduce deaths related to addiction, publish information for families about prevention, treatment and recovery, and to create events around the country to engage the public.
In forming the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Task Force, Mendell tells Behavioral Healthcare Executive that he hopes to create a unifying voice that can take the research and recommendations in the surgeon general’s report and engage in initiatives that will expand access to quality treatment.
“It’s all the research that has been done over the past 20 years put into one report,” Mendell says. “Now it needs to be implemented. That’s what the task force is charged to do and why I formed it. Everyone in the field are researchers, doctors, health insurers. What I bring to this is a business perspective that is a good complement to others in the field who have knowledge about what should be done.”
The task force’s steering committee includes well-known voices, such as Michael Botticelli, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Charles Ingoglia, MSW, senior vice president of public policy and practice improvement at the National Council of Behavioral Health. A full list of steering committee members is available on the Shatterproof website.
Mendell says he hopes to add senior benefit management executives from Fortune 200 organizations to the group as well. Overall, Mendell says his thinking behind the individuals assembled to comprise the steering committee was to find a mix of researchers who could develop sound policy and influencers who could drive implementation.
Among the task force’s first initiatives is to create a list of quality measures that can be used as an industrywide tool to evaluate treatment providers. The measures will evidence-based, must have a proven ability to have the greatest impact on improving patient outcomes, and must be quantifiable. A first draft of the quality measures is expected to be released by Oct. 1 and finalized by the first quarter of 2018. The task force will spend the bulk of 2018 working with state licensing agencies, payers, providers and consumers—which Mendell calls “the four levers of implementation”—to drive widespread adoption.