LESS Care for MORE Patients? How Treatment Centers Can Scale to Meet Future Demand

LESS Care for MORE Patients? How Treatment Centers Can Scale to Meet Future Demand

In a recent blog post, we looked at the insurance industry’s trend away from volume-based reimbursement models and toward value-based reimbursement models. This move is aimed at delivering the best care at the lowest cost, such as screenings and early intervention, rather than late-stage treatment.

This type of early intervention could mean less care for more patients. This would represent a radical change for the substance abuse industry, which historically treats patients once their addictions are more advanced, and they require greater levels of care. The question then becomes: how can substance abuse treatment facilities scale to provide less care for greater patient populations?

The answer to this question isn’t necessarily more beds, but greater efficiency.

To meet the demand of collaborative care, substance abuse treatment facilities will have to expand their capacity to treat a greater volume of patients. This means building efficiencies into their business models by adopting timesaving software such as electronic medical records and billing software, which enable facilities to spend more time on patient care and less time chasing claims. And outsourcing everything from Utilization Review to niche treatment services.

In addition to building these efficiencies, it will be necessary to boost outpatient treatment capabilities. This means creating programs designed specifically to serve the needs outpatient populations.

This could include “wraparound services,” such as childcare and transportation that help those engaged in outpatient care maintain their treatment schedules; population-specific counseling groups, such as those that meet the needs of women, families, adolescents or veterans; and other niche offerings.

While it might seem that this type of tailored care is less efficient than one-size-fits-all treatment modalities, the truth is that not all patients need the same level of care – especially if early intervention works as it should.