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Actions Toward Integrated Treatment

The following are a few of the actions described in SAMHSA's report to Congress that would help create comprehensive treatment systems:

  • Develop aggregated financing mechanisms

  • Measure achievement by improvements in client functioning and quality of life

  • Agency leaders need to have a shared vision and establish a set of expectations concerning co-occurring disorders treatment that staff in both disciplines are encouraged and expected to follow

  • Agency staff should expect their clients to present with a full range of co-occurring symptoms and disorders

  • Clients in both systems should be screened and assessed for other conditions as well, including HIV/AIDS, physical and/or sexual abuse, brain disorders, physical disabilities, etc.

  • Staff should be cross-trained in both mental health and substance abuse, but can continue to work in their field of expertise. These staff can serve as part of a multidisciplinary team that features shared responsibility for clients and is culturally appropriate

  • Services should be client-centered. Staff should express hope for their clients' success in treatment and empower their clients to do the same

  • Support multidisciplinary treatment teams and family education training programs that focus on effective evidence-based treatments13

  • Integrate public funding and delivery systems so that financial and administrative barriers do not impede research and the development of integrated systems of care13

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