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Monday, August 1, 2011

Treating Addiction in Sonoma County

Michael Spielman, MFT
The Drug Abuse Alternatives Center
The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as national health care reform requires private insurance plans to include mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment beginning in 2014.

• Nearly 1 in 5 Californa adults suffers from a mental disorder, about 1 in 25 has signs of a serious mental illness and nearly 1 in 10 abuses or is dependent on illicit drugs or alcohol

• It is estimated that 40,000 teen and adults in Sonoma County have an alcohol or other drug problem yet currently little funding is available for treatment

• Alcohol and other drug treatment providers in Sonoma County (funded by Sonoma County only) provide services to approximately 5,000 people per year at a cost of approximately $10 million

• Sonoma County will spend over $47 million in general fund dollars in 2011/2012 to run the jail system

• An estimated 70% of jail inmates in Sonoma County have substance abuse problems (primarily alcohol or methamphetamine) that underlie their criminal behavior

• Every $1 invested in treatment saves $7 in legal, medical and social costs
Federal and state lawmakers are trying to address gaps in behavioral health insurance either by mandating coverage or requiring parity. Parity laws require insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders to be equal to or better than the insurance already provided for other medical and surgical benefits, including maximum lifetime benefits, co-payments, and deductibles.

Implications for Medi-Cal clients ~ For all Medi-Cal health plans, national health care reform expands coverage for mental health and substance use disorders and required coverage for these services.

Implications for California ~ The new benefits will extend to poor and uninsured Californian’s ~ such as the homeless, ex-offenders, unemployed and others who today have little access to effective SUD treatment. In California, 6 million individuals who were previously uninsured will receive basic medical benefits.

Over the next several years, Californian’s will most likely see major cuts to direct funding for some SUD treatment programs and facilities, while health care reform increases public and private insurance coverage for substance use disorders. The result will shift outpatient SUD treatment from stand-alone treatment centers to integrated services in health care settings, and from fee-for-service programs to accountable care organizations capable of demonstrating cost efficiency and quality effectiveness.

Implications for Sonoma County ~ Sonoma County spends a large percentage of its general fund dollars on the criminal justice system and a smaller percentage for alcohol and drug treatment. The shift in responsibility from the state to the counties for treatement and funding is going to be played out over the next few years.

According to the Sonoma County Indicators 2011 Unabridged Edition from the Economic Development Board, 12% of the population, or 57,000 people living in Sonoma County in 2009 did not have medical insurance.

To learn more about the how the Healthcare Reform will affect Sonoma County you are invited to attend our Understanding Addiction: Moving Towards an Integrated System of Care on September 27, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm.

Understanding Addiction Workshop 

Morning Session 9:00 a.m. to Noon
Integration of Behavioral Health Services Into Primary Care Settings
The SUD treatment and recovery workforce will need to learn additional skills to navigate a much broader primary health, substance use disorder, and mental health care system. This presentation will examine key components of the Health Care Reform and how SUD treatment practitioners can alter their practices to be most responsive. Questions and concerns practitioners may have regarding health care reform will be addressed, and several specific models and strategies for providing integrated behavioral health and primary health services will be presented.
Understanding Addiction Workshop Afternoon Session 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Treating the Whole Person:
Integrating Care for Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders

This presentation will provide an overview of the unique treatment needs of persons who present with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. The importance of providing integrated services that address both conditions simultaneously will be described. Lastly, participants will learn about specific strategies for screening, assessment, brief intervention, and referral to more intensive treatment and intervention. There will be a Special Panel discussion highlighting local service providers.
Who should attend: Health, social service, criminal justice and human resource professionals, addiction counselors, public officials, educators, community leaders and other interested individuals.

3 to 6 Continuing Education Credits (CE) are available for RN’s, Psych Techs, MFT’s, LCSW’s, Addiction Counselors & Attorneys ~ Cost $39.95 for the morning or afternoon sessions or $74.95 for all day/both sessions

For more information and a sign-up form see (Events – Workshop) or call (707) 571-2233 ext. 369. To contact Michael Spielman, MFT DAAC Executive Director, call (707) 571-2233 ext. 308 or

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