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The year ahead

Experts’ Contributions: “Hopes and Fears” 2016

Leaders in the field of drug treatment share their predictions for 2016 and the challenges ahead. See Dr. Provet’s below. Click here for the full report. 

The escalating opioid epidemic among middle-class Americans drew unusual attention last year to our field across a wide public sphere of elected officials, leaders of medical and scientific communities, members of criminal justice and law enforcement agencies, and the mainstream media.

While this attention is welcome, we need to make sure the urgent need for treatment is reflected in the stabilization and expansion of services for vulnerable populations. As states (including New York, with high-need, disadvantaged populations) look to contain costs under Medicaid managed care, we must work hard to ensure that the federal block grant is maintained, the IMD [Institutions for Mental Diseases] exclusion is eliminated and parity under the ACA [Affordable Care Act] is fully enforced. Without these essential provisions built into federal and state budgets and policies, nonprofit organizations that provide the bulk of safety net services will find it harder and harder to meet the increased demands for care.

At Odyssey House, we have been preparing for the impact of managed care for quite some time and have established new systems to both contain costs and streamline care. These include: electronic health record keeping and linkages with hospital and other community-based providers; evidence-based practices and medication-assisted treatment; and extended outpatient and housing support services.

My hope as we look to 2016 is that we will not only continue to provide quality care for disadvantaged substance abusers (who often require intensive residential services in order to have a chance at achieving and maintaining a functional life), but that their needs will be reflected in the ongoing national debate on how best to treat addiction and its accompanying social ills.

Peter Provet, Ph.D.
President & Chief Executive Officer

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