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Financing Integrated Treatment

Mental health and substance abuse treatment systems face challenges in obtaining funding that supports integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders. Committed leadership, joint planning, and the willingness to find creative solutions are key to overcoming challenges.

A consistent barrier in financing integrated services is that organizations think of funding in a siloed way. Siloed funding can cause programs to spend significant time in administrative tasks needed to secure funds for a client's treatment through multiple streams. Difficult financial times raise a good opportunity to think creatively and stretch resources to the maximum. Determining exactly what is possible with the funding that is received from all systems is a first step. Partnering and collaboration are often keys to making funding go further. This is particularly true in integrated care where shared resources improve consumer outcomes while enhancing the bottom line of all partners. They key is creative, collaborative thinking that maximizes the current financing options.

Six financing principles that may be adapted for use in any State or community include:

Plan to Purchase Together. Mental health and substance abuse authorities have demonstrated success in jointly planning and purchasing services.

Define the Population. Individuals with co-occurring disorders vary in the severity of both their mental and substance use disorders. Mental health and substance abuse authorities can target populations based on the severity of their mental or substance use disorder while still maintaining the No Wrong Door approach for entering into treatment. This can help to ensure that individuals with co-occurring disorders receive the care that they need.

Secure Financing. Mental health and substance abuse authorities should review federal, state, and private funding opportunities. Most likely, states and communities will need to pursue a mixed model that combines different streams of existing funds while leveraging some new resources.

Purchase Effective Services. Mental health and substance abuse authorities should purchase services that research has shown to be effective. Good information is available to help states and communities develop highly effective, integrated services for persons with co-occurring disorders. Those models can be adopted or adapted to suit the needs of individual states and communities.

Purchase Performance. Program effectiveness should be judged and rewarded based on individual-level outcomes. Clear expectations should be set for program performance, based on available research and on community needs. A program's effectiveness can be measured by improved consumer outcomes in such key areas as symptom reduction, housing stability, and employment, among others.

Evaluate and Improve. Evaluating program performance and providing results promotes communication and the ability to seek private funding. Evaluate programs and the services they provide continually to ensure they are achieving desired results. Rapid feedback to all key stakeholders helps ensure that expectations are met or revised, based on actual performance.

Programs can look to federal, state and private sources for funding of co-occurring disorder services.

Resources and Links

  • Directory of funding opportunities for co-occurring disorders treatment and services. Information on funding opportunities includes description of the opportunity, submission deadline, address and phone number.