Measuring Outcomes To Improve Services
SAMHSA and the states are collaborating on an effort to measure
the outcomes for clients in all SAMHSA-funded programs with the
goal of using the information to improve services for people with
mental and addictive disorders.
"Increasingly, policymakers and budget planners at all levelsFederal,
state, local, and privateare basing funding decisions on outcome
data," said SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W.
"Eventually, this Web-based toolSAMHSA's National Outcome
Measures (NOMs)will provide the public and policymakers with
the information to improve the management and performance of our
programs and make the most of the limited dollars available to help
people attain and sustain recovery."
SAMHSA is realigning all of the Agency's grant and contract data
collection programsboth internal and externalwith NOMs.
And SAMHSA is expanding and focusing its technical assistance resources
to help states and providers develop NOMs reporting capacity.
Mr. Curie observed that "streamlining SAMHSA reporting requirements
will reduce the reporting burden on the states in the long run."
The NOMs information available online at www.nationalout
comemeasures.samhsa.gov uses maps and charts to describe
states' substance abuse and mental health prevalence, treatment,
and funding data. This Web site also provides substance abuse prevention
data. As new data are collected, the Web site will present cross-year
data to help users examine program changes over time.
Back to Top
NOMs Covers 10 Domains
The first domain is abstinence from drug use and alcohol abuse.
Also in this area is the goal of decreasing symptoms of mental
illness and improving functioning.
Four domains focus on resilience and sustaining recovery.
These areas include getting and keeping a job or enrolling and
staying in school, decreasing involvement with the criminal
justice system, finding safe and stable housing, and improving
social connectedness to others in the community.
One domain deals with increased access to services for both
mental health and substance abuse.
Another domain looks at retention in substance abuse treatment
or decreased inpatient hospitalizations for mental health treatment.
The final three domains examine the quality of services provided.
These include client perception of care, cost-effectiveness,
and use of evidence-based treatment practices.
SAMHSA and the states have agreed to the goal of bringing all states
to full NOMs reporting by the end of Fiscal Year 2007. Although
each state is at a different stage of readiness and some of the
measures are still being developed, NOMs will enable states to report
consistent, cross-year data. Providers should contact their respective
states for information on NOMs and on developing requests for technical
As part of this effort, SAMHSA is launching the new State Outcomes
Measurement and Management System (SOMMS) Central Services Center,
which will serve as a central data repository and support further
technical work on standardized operational definitions and outcome
measures for states.
The Center also will offer technical assistance to states to support
their development of the capacity to link records so that states
and service providers can make pre-service and post-service comparisons
to evaluate outcomes.
In addition, SAMHSA and the states will work together to develop
management reports that will guide technical assistance needs and
promote the use of evidence-based interventions for improved client
"Our goal is to achieve a performance environment with true
accountability," said Mr. Curie. "Our emphasis on a limited
number of national outcomes and related national outcome measures
is built on a history of extensive dialogue with our colleagues
in state mental health and substance abuse service agenciesand
most importantly, the people we serve."
Visit the SAMHSA Web site at www.nationaloutcome
« See Also—Previous
AlsoNext Article »
Back to Top