Measure of the Month: Substance Use Treatment

This year, the KHC added a few new measures to our annual quality reports. One of the most heavily discussed was the Initiation and Engagement of Alcohol and Other Drug Dependence Treatment (IET). IET is used to identify the percentage of people with a new diagnosis of alcohol or other drug dependence who initiate treatment and ultimately follow up with two more related services after the initial treatment.

The IET measure was identified as a candidate for inclusion after KHC developed a focus on behavioral health issues, including being involved in opioid dependence projects and the integration of mental and physical health. Behavioral healthcare quality measurement isn’t as established as some others, like preventive or pediatric care, which limits the options for what the KHC could select.

More specifically, IET measures the percentage of patients 13 years of age and older with a new episode of alcohol and other drug (AOD) dependence who received the following. Two age range rates are reported.

  1. Percentage of patients who initiated treatment within 14 days of the diagnosis.
  2. Percentage of patients who initiated treatment and who had two or more additional services with an AOD diagnosis within 30 days of the initiation visit.

The diagnosis of individuals with dependence disorders is a first step in the process of care, but too often, that diagnosis does not lead to some sort of treatment. This measure looks at the treatment piece of that process.

Nationally, the rate of those who initiated treatment within 14 days of diagnosis (either through inpatient admission, outpatient visit, intensive outpatient encounter, or partial hospitalization) is 34-41 percent. For follow-up with additional services in the two weeks following the initial treatment, the national rate is 11-13 percent for commercially-insured individuals and about 3.5 percent for individuals with Medicaid. When KHC’s next quality reports come out in the near future, we can compare Kentuckiana and statewide rates to national ones.

For more information on the IET measure, you can go to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Quality Measures Clearinghouse website here.