SAMHSA’s Quality Efforts

Learn about SAMHSA’s efforts to improve measurement and data collection to better capture the quality and outcomes of behavioral health services.

National Behavioral Health Quality Framework

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act charged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with developing a National Quality Strategy (NQS), the purpose of which is to better meet the promise of providing all Americans with access to health care that is safe, effective, and affordable. In March 2011, the Secretary of HHS reported to Congress on a National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care. Using the NQS as a model, SAMHSA has developed the National Behavioral Health Quality Framework (NBHQF).

National Quality Forum (NQF)

SAMHSA works with nonprofit organizations such as the NQF, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), and other groups to improve the quality of health care in America. The collaboration has resulted in:

  • Two completed behavioral health calls for measures and a third underway
  • An expansion of the NQF-endorsed behavioral health portfolio and growing recognition in the field of the importance of developing and submitting high-quality behavioral health measures for endorsement
  • A partnership in 2013 with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within HHS on two proposals that have been awarded to NQF to examine care coordination and workforce issues

The NQF is a nonpartisan, membership-based organization that works to catalyze improvements in health care. The NCQA is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality.

Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)

The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 updated some aspects of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. Federal agencies are required to set long-term goals and objectives as well as specific near-term performance goals. As part of this federal mandate, all SAMHSA grantees are required to collect and report performance data using approved measurement tools.

Behavioral Health Barometers

The Behavioral Health Barometers – 2013 are a series of state and national reports that provide a snapshot of the state of behavioral health in the United States. This national report presents a set of substance use and mental health indicators as measured through SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), SAMHSA’s National Survey of Substance and Alcohol Treatment Services (N-SSATS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future survey. Also included are data on the use of mental health and substance use treatment services by Medicare enrollees, as reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In future years, the Behavioral Health Barometers will use these and other data sources to paint a more complete picture of behavioral health issues in America.

National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)

NREPP is a searchable online database of mental health and substance use interventions. NREPP is one way that SAMHSA works to improve access to information on tested interventions and thereby reduce the lag time between the creation of scientific knowledge and its practical application in the field. Learn more about NREPP.

Last Updated: 08/09/2018