Historically, treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) has largely remained separate from traditional hospital and health system care delivery models. However, the separation of services has created significant barriers for patients to access appropriate and timely treatment.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national survey, 19 million Americans needed substance use treatment in 2016, but only 11% received it. In some areas, waiting lists for rehabilitation facilities exceed 100 days. As a result, many patients with SUDs get admitted or seek services in emergency departments, contributing to costly efficiency and management challenges.
The impact of substance use disorders on the health care system continues to increase. Between 2006 and 2013, rates of ED use for SUDs grew 37% and health care costs from alcohol, illicit drug, and prescription opioid abuse total approximately $63 million each year. Providers must determine the best strategy to link care model resources and fill their community’s pressing gaps.