Tightening State Budgets Encourage Creative Collaboration to Maximize Funds Available for Drug Addiction Patients

WASHINGTON, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Seven States and Indian Tribal organizations recently combined their grant awards received from a new federal program designed to increase recovery and treatment services for thousands of patients across the U.S.

In September 2007, President Bush's Compassion Capital fund released a $98M Federal Grant entitled Access to Recovery, through SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration). Twenty-four (24) Grantees which include States and Tribal Organizations were awarded the money with the goal of allowing people the freedom to choose their own substance abuse treatment provider. The grant calls for a significant expansion of services within the Faith-based Community Treatment and Recovery providers, and requires grantees to setup an electronic voucher system to manage the delivery and reimbursement of services.

Building and managing the voucher system can be a very expensive and time- consuming process; therefore grantees try to minimize these administrative costs in order to maximize the dollars available for treatment.

Seven grantees participated in a collaborative effort to purchase a single voucher system which resulted in a savings of approximately $150,000 for each grantee. The members of this collaboration include: Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, the Cherokee Nation, Arizona, Iowa, and Hawaii.

John Gastorf from the Cherokee Nation ATR Program describes how people within his jurisdiction will benefit from the cost savings, "The money we saved through the collaboration will allow us to provide services for over 100 additional people each year within our ATR program. That's a significant number for a community like ours."

Mr. Gastorf also remarked on the speed of implementing the system, "we were able to release the system to our community within 3 weeks of signing the contract, which allows us to start serving clients ahead of the Federal deadline."

The software chosen by the seven members of the Collaborative is called WITS-VMS (Web Infrastructure for Treatment Services - Voucher Management System). The software was originally developed by SAMHSA to promote the reuse of Electronic Health Record technology. The Grantees organized themselves as part of a larger 17-member group the WCP (WITS Collaborative Partnership - www.witsweb.org ). This group supports ongoing collaborative efforts by enhancing the "shared-source" WITS software to support many social service programs including Medicaid, National Outcomes data reporting, and Drug Court.

FEI.com, Inc. (www.feinfo.com) is a SBA certified and minority owned business situated in the Washington Metropolitan area - the epicenter for behavioral health and substance abuse policy and decision making. Since 1999, FEI has provided behavioral health data systems, clinical trial software and electronic health records solutions to Federal, State and Private organizations. As the principle developer for Web Infrastructure for Treatment Services (WITS), FEI currently manages 17 WITS systems across the country including States, County Government and Private Behavioral Health Agencies.

SOURCE FEI.com, Inc.

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