Health plans will see the best results in treating substance use disorder (SUD) by adopting a risk-sharing, value-based contracting model with providers, experts say. According to executives from a health plan and an addiction treatment provider, fee-for-service contracting can create incentives for providers that work against best practices in SUD treatment.

“Substance use disorder treatment, for decades in our country, [has] grown up outside of the traditional health care system,” said Stephanie Strong, CEO of SUD treatment provider Boulder Care, in a June 22 virtual panel discussion at the AHIP Institute and Expo. “And often, a lot of the policies and outcomes…[have] been the result of a lot of misinformation about this condition and its treatment. For example, the prevailing sentiment is, if someone has addictive disease, send them to rehab or a[n inpatient] facility — which may be for 30 or 90 days — and expect a cure when someone returns.”

That attitude is outdated, she says.

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