Addiction Treatment State of Affairs
It is no secret that in today’s environment in the addiction treatment industry there is apprehension, regulatory fear, and an unknown direction for the future. This is not to suggest that the field will dissipate or fold! Behavioral Health; addiction, alcoholism, mental health, and other challenges like eating disorder(s) continue to need to be addressed in our communities. However, the state of the field is tenuous at best with competing views and narratives coming from the players in the trenches. The number of stakeholders is unbelievable, couple that with the various split between seemingly identical genres of these stakeholders and boy we are in challenging times.
History of Union to Behavioral Health
I remember in the early 1990s, there was a push to integrate the mental health and addiction and alcoholism systems. The push back in New York was unbelievable to me. This divisiveness has deepened over the years. Not only between the two genres of care but the various treatment modalities, perspectives, regulators, accrediting bodies, and trade associations, as you can imagine opinions are all over the place. Add to this the funding sources from governmental to private health coverage, the system is fragmented and a mess. Then facing the opinions that get sparked from various statewide movements for instance; I was in NY recently and the negative conversation was about Florida treatment providers…
Treatment Providers are Under Attack
Treatment centers are under attack starting with the issue with unscrupulous players, marketing issues, advertising issues, managed care payments slow or denied, levels of care decided by the insurers and not via medical necessity, abstinence-based agencies pushed to utilize medication-assisted treatment. Traditionally, behavioral health care has been viewed as a, not for profit venue and hardship must be accounted for, yet, a private treatment agency must be careful if they waive an out of pocket fee, as it may be interpreted as inducement!
What are the Issues?
There is no doubt about it, the issues are diverse and rampant. The pressure to utilize evidence-based practice (a good thing) yet as we know there are so many genres of addiction treatment processes such as “wilderness therapy”, “Eastern Medicine therapies” such as Yoga, and other healing arts… Yet, listen in on the negative narratives and you would think these practices are simply money grabs! Yet, visit one of these centers and see the healing occur and only the cynic walks away untouched!
Top all of this off with the requirements for documentation, billing, i.e. Revenue Cycle Management software, the need for administrative technologies such as Contact Management software, Human Resources software, facilities and fleet management and now outcome-based tools and tracking measurements. So the agency faces lower reimbursement rates, delayed reimbursement, extensive chart reviews by the payors, and add to this all the factors above from MAT to client care and patient safety and bam the administrators are just that much more hard-pressed to not make fiscal mistakes.
The Start of a Solution
Obviously, this is a ZenCharts software Blog so my focus is on software and addressing these issues. When we started to build ZenCharts we committed to building a friendly product at the best possible price we could muster. We were sick and tired of the gougers and slick “used car salesmen” out there. We wanted to build a product that you could rely upon, integrate other software systems with easily without additional costs to you, and we determined to build tools that were relevant and inclusive in our systems approach. For the agencies that have been with us since the beginning, they are a testament that we are what we say we are, and they believe in our vision for the future. We know that times are tough, but like all other periods in Behavioral Health history, we will arise and be better than ever! For a personal and private walk through of our software click here: ZenCharts Demo.