PA 09-149—sHB 6320

Program Review and Investigations Committee

Public Health Committee


SUMMARY: This act (1) establishes specific topics, including benchmarks for state-operated programs, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services' (DMHAS) state substance abuse plan must address; (2) requires DMHAS to consult with various groups in developing the plan; and (3) requires DMHAS to report on progress in achieving those benchmarks.

It also requires the Public Health Department (DPH), by January 1, 2011, to implement dual licensure for behavioral health care providers that provide both mental health and substance abuse services. It must do this by amending its substance abuse treatment regulations in consultation with DMHAS. DPH licenses several types of institutions (e. g. , freestanding mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities and psychiatric hospitals) and individual professionals (e. g. , psychologists and clinical social workers) that might provide both of these services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009, for the plan changes; October 1, 2009, for reports on plan outcomes; and upon passage, for the DPH regulatory requirement.


Plan Development

The law requires DMHAS to develop a state plan for preventing, treating, and reducing alcohol and drug abuse. Prior law required DMHAS to update the plan's statewide, long-term planning goals and objectives every year. The act requires it to develop the plan by July 1, 2010 and then update it every three years.

In developing this plan, DMHAS must solicit and consider recommendations from subregional substance abuse planning and action councils. The act requires DMHAS also to consult with:

1. the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council (CADPC);

2. the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission;

3. DMHAS clients and their families, including those in the criminal justice system;

4. treatment providers; and

5. other parties with interests in substance abuse disorders.

DHMAS must submit the final draft of the plan to CADPC for its review and comment.

Plan Contents

The act requires the plan to contain mission and vision statements and goals for providing treatment and recovery support services to adults with substance abuse disorders. It requires the plan to outline the action steps, timeframes, and resources needed to meet specific goals. At a minimum, the plan must address:

1. access to service, both before and after admission to treatment;

2. comprehensive assessments for anyone asking for treatment, including people with both substance abuse and mental health problems (i. e. , co-occurring disorders);

3. treatment service quality and promotion of research- and evidence-based best practices;

4. an appropriate array of treatment and recovery services and a sustained continuum of care;

5. outcome measures for specific services in the overall system of care;

6. DMHAS policies and guidelines concerning recovery-oriented care; and

7. the community reentry strategy the Office of Policy and Management's (OPM) Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division developed for the substance abuse treatment and recovery services inmates need.

The act requires the plan to define measures and set benchmarks for the overall treatment system and each state-operated program. These must include:

1. the time required to receive services either from state agencies or the private providers they fund;

2. the percentage of clients who should receive treatment for 90 days or more;

3. treatment rates for people who ask for treatment;

4. rates at which people are connected to the appropriate level of care; and

5. treatment completion and success rates as measured by outcomes related to substance use, employment, housing, and involvement with the criminal justice system.

Reporting Plan Results

The law requires DMHAS to report to the legislature, OPM, and CADPC every two years on various aspects of the substance abuse treatment system. This report must include the effectiveness of services based on outcome measures. The act requires the report also to include the progress made in achieving the statewide plan's goals and benchmarks.

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