The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3344.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - 9:15 PM

Abstract #46473

Examining the importance of performance measures for substance abuse services for adolescents

Constance Weisner, DrPH, MSW1, Jennifer Mertens, MA2, Stacy Sterling, MPH, MSW3, Sujaya Parthasarathy, PhD3, and Michele Scott3. (1) KP Division of Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, 3505 Broadway Avenue, 12th floor, Oakland, CA 94611, 510-450-2156,, (2) Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, 3505 Broadway, 12th floor, Oakland, CA 94611, (3) Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente, Northern California, 3505 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

Performance measures can be important in improving adolescent alcohol and other drug (AOD) services. Less is known about access, utilization, and "best practices" for adolescents than for adults; performance measures offer an opportunity to develop accountability. To investigate the feasibility of using administrative data to measure services, we examined administrative data, and data from adolescents entering AOD treatment from Northern California Kaiser Permanente. We compare self-report with health plan data on problem identification, substance use, medical, and psychiatric diagnoses, and pathways to treatment. Diagnoses were made more often in psychiatry for girls, and in ER more often for boys. We found higher levels of comorbidity and lower treatment initiation and engagement rates for girls than boys. In order to examine the importance to health plans of identifying problems and providing services, we also compare the sample's utilization with a matched cohort of adolescents without AOD or psychiatric diagnoses. Of 27 conditions, more than half were more prevalent among adolescents with AOD diagnoses (e.g., depression 20% vs. 3%, p<.05; anxiety 4.2% vs. 2%, p=.04; menstrual problems, 3% vs. 5%, p=.03; abdominal pain 6% vs. 2%, p=.02; and respiratory conditions. Adolescents with AOD diagnoses also had higher levels of ER (20% vs. 4%) and inpatient (6% vs. .7%) use, with girls having higher rates of all visit types. Findings indicate the importance to health plans of identifying AOD problems and providing services, and that administrative data sources are a feasible way to measure performance and improvement.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Performance Measures for Substance Abuse: Opportunities and Challenges

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA