The president and CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) believes treatment leaders have done a great deal to clean up an industry reputation sullied by a minority of providers' unethical business practices. But the move to higher standards in administration and patient care will continue, Marvin Ventrell said this week at Foundations Recovery Network's Moments of Change conference.
“It's about transparency and trust,” Ventrell told the audience at a general session on Monday. “It's about the healthy spiritual environment.”
NAATP in recent years has been at the forefront of numerous initiatives related to industry ethics and quality improvement, from working to stamp out unscrupulous online marketing practices to conducting a treatment outcomes pilot initiative with several of its most prominent members. He chose the term “industry evolution,” preferring it to “industry reform” or “industry correction,” to describe the emergence of field leadership that honors the past but embraces the future.
The association now insists that members adhere to the NAATP code of ethics or a comparable standard, having recently taken the step of reducing its own ranks when some members' practices could not meet the standard. “We had to get smaller to get better,” Ventrell said.
He added, “Corrupt environments don't get people well. You know it when you walk in the door. It comes from the top, and it is passed on to every level.”
Opportunities and challenges
Ventrell cited a number of positive developments affecting the industry, from expanded opportunities in delivering high-quality care to emerging clinical models that combine 12-Step and medication treatment strategies.
He referenced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in saying, “Perhaps there has been nothing more important on the public service level than Medicaid expansion.”
At the same time, Ventrell listed numerous challenges that continue to vex government and industry leaders, including the overall lack of an effective public policy response to the addiction crisis, an unstable reimbursement environment, and the predatory treatment profiteer who is still out there.
Ventrell said it has been important for the industry to move from talking about what should be prohibited practice to what should be looked for as best practice. NAATP's quality assurance guidebook lays out the core competencies that form the baseline of what the association sees as a quality-driven treatment organization, he explained.