Sunday, November 10, 2013

Advice for Consumers of Addiction Services

In the November issue of the prestigious journal Health Affairs, Anne Fletcher's book Inside Rehab got a very favorable review. Yours truly was highlighted with this paragraph from the review:

"Certainly the most useful part of the book is the advice provided by Mark Willenbring, former director of the Division of Treatment and Recovery Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He recommends that those seeking treatment should see themselves as customers and seek the best treatment that will work for them. They should get a comprehensive evaluation from someone not financially invested in a specific treatment program, demand nothing less than master’s degree–prepared therapists, and make sure the program treats any co-occurring issues. They should also not go through the same treatment protocols over and over again when it is obvious that they aren't working."

Thanks to Anne of course, and also to the reviewer, Rick Mathis (, a a health
researcher at the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Institute.


1 comment:

  1. That is good advice but it assumes that there is a marketplace in healthcare where one can act like a customer. That seems to rarely be the case when the quality of mental health and addiction services is at such a low level of quality after decades of rationing. You can actually be part of a health plan and not get adequate detox services and have no access to the timely treatment of medical or psychiatric comorbidity.

    That is not because there is a shortage of expertise but because the services have been rationed for the past 30 years and cost shifted out of health plans. I am not hopeful that the recently published parity rule will do much to change that.

    There are numerous ways that complaints from consumers in healthcare are cancelled out. I would recommend establishing 2 agencies in each state to oversee the health plans and to assist clinicians who are whistleblowers to protect them from blow back created when they disagree with a health plans rationing procedures.


Comments are welcome.