A Business Case for Quality Improvement in Addiction Treatment: Evidence from the NIATx Collaborative

  • Andrew R. Quanbeck
  • Lynn Madden
  • Eldon Edmundson
  • James H. FordII
  • K. John McConnell
  • Dennis McCarty
  • David H. Gustafson


The Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx) promotes treatment access and retention through a customer-focused quality improvement model. This paper explores the issue of the “business case” for quality improvement in addiction treatment from the provider’s perspective. The business case model developed in this paper is based on case examples of early NIATx participants coupled with a review of the literature. Process inefficiencies indicated by long waiting times, high no-show rates, and low continuation rates cause underutilization of capacity and prevent optimal financial performance. By adopting customer-focused practices aimed at removing barriers to treatment access and retention, providers may be able to improve financial performance, increase staff retention, and gain long-term strategic advantage.


Quality Improvement Business Case Addiction Treatment Continuation Rate Quality Improvement Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



NIATx has been supported through grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (56764, 59714), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA020832, R01 DA018282), and cooperative agreements from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SC-05-109). The authors acknowledge the role that all NIATx funders, members, and staff have played in developing the business case concept. The authors thank Kay Seim, Perinatal Treatment Services; Louise Howell, Kentucky River Community Care, and Jay Hansen, Prairie Ridge Addiction Treatment Services, for their contribution to the paper. Additional thanks to Fran Cotter, Victor Capoccia, Tom Hilton, Todd Molfenter, Kim Johnson, Kim Hoffman, Scott Farnum, Alice Pulvermacher, Mark Zehner, Amy McIlvaine, Tom Mosgaller, Rochelle Green, and Jon Kumm for their support. Selected content was presented at the 2008 College on Problems of Drug Dependence Annual Conference and the 2008 Mayo Clinic Conference on Systems Engineering and Operations Research in Healthcare.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew R. Quanbeck
    • 1
  • Lynn Madden
    • 2
  • Eldon Edmundson
    • 3
  • James H. FordII
    • 1
  • K. John McConnell
    • 3
  • Dennis McCarty
    • 3
  • David H. Gustafson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin—MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.APT FoundationDepartment of Psychiatry, Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Oregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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