February 19, 2019

Mass. to join pilot addiction treatment program

Massachusetts is joining a pilot program aiming to create a rating system for addiction treatment.

The state Department of Public Health announced Friday it is joining the system being developed by the nonprofit organization Shatterproof. The initiative is being funded by $5 million from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and six health insurers: Aetna, Anthem, Beacon Health Options, Cigna, Magellan Health, and UnitedHealth Group.

The rating system will primarily use data from three sources: insurance claims, provider surveys and consumer experience surveys. Results will be made publicly available to those searching for addiction treatment, as well as to public and private payers, states, and referral sources, the state said.

Data will be collected throughout this year and next, with plans for Shatterproof to take the program national upon completion of the pilot phase.

Washington, D.C.,-based Shatterproof said Massachusetts is the first state to join the pilot program. Residential, outpatient and intensive outpatient programs will be included in the program, the state said.

The state's decision to join Shatterproof's program was announced just days after the release of last year's opioid overdose deaths report, which appears to show that some of the state's initiatives are working in reducing deaths.

The state reported last week it confirmed or estimated 1,974 opioid overdose deaths last year. That represents a drop of 82, or 4 percent, from 2017 and a decrease of 125 deaths from 2016.

Among the initiatives put into place by the state are a stricter opioid prescription monitoring program. The Baker Administration's proposed fiscal 2020 budget calls for $266 million in substance abuse treatment and services.

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