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Increasingly, providers of medical care are developing “report cards” to help patients better select treatment options and health care providers. Report cards consist of a list of statistics which best demonstrates how successful and satisfying a particular treatment or provider of care for a particular medical/psychiatric problem has been. Report cards, at this stage of development, are usually reported by the provider or clinic. Thus, reported results may be suspect due to the inherent bias of reporting ones own success. National and state agencies are beginning to establish independent methods to determine their effectiveness and improvement in quality of life for various treatments and providers of medical services. At this point, most patients rely on “word of mouth” reports from patients who have used a particular treatment, provider, or clinic. Google reviews and other online resources have become popular sources of information about treatment and providers. For now, consumers of services must rely on all the above resources to plan for the medical/psychiatric care they need.

We at South Hills Recovery Project are serious about the need for accurate information about treatment effectiveness and patient satisfaction. From our inception, we have gathered information measuring effectiveness of treatments offered, patient satisfaction, costs, and improvement in overall quality of life for patients in treatment. Below is our first published “report card” for services provided for Opiate Use Disorder and related mental health conditions. We chose statistics relevant to a “report card” based on a review of the literature discussing quality of care, elements of an relevant “report card” and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s initiative calling for evidence-based, patient-centered, safe and affordable treatments.

The first statistic that we report involves information about engagement and retention of patients seeking treatment for Opiate Use Disorder. Engagement here is reported as the percent of patients who attend the first appointment for treatment who return for a second appointment. Patients who seek treatment for Opiate Use Disorder have several concerns about treatment that may, if not addressed, cause them not to return for a second visit. The issues may include the cost of treatment, the time required for treatment, perception of criticism by staff or ambivalence about quitting opiate use. Here, we do not report reasons for patients not returning for a second visit. This is a topic for a later article. We also report the percent of patients that attend the first 2 appts who continue treatment for at least one year. We call this the rate of retention.

Engagement: 90% ( 90 out every 100 patients return within 30 days for a second visit)

Retention: 77% ( 77 patients out of every 100 patients who attend the first 2 appointments will still be in treatment 1 year later)

Drug use ( 80 out of every 100 patients are drug-free more than one year. 5 out of every 100 patients have between 6-12 months clean. 15 out of every 100 patients have less than 6 months clean). We excluded cannabis and alcohol in this calculation.)

We accept for initial evaluation of all patients seeking help. We do not see patients who insist on being prescribed Subutex, Xanax, Klonopin, Adderall, or other potentially abused medications. These medications are prescribed only if the Medical Director approves.

The average length of time a patients has been in treatment at South Hills Recovery Project is 33 months.

Average Quality of Life rating is 75 out of a possible 100. This number is equivalent to people who have no chronic diseases. ( Normals)

Our patients rate us an average of 80 out of a possible 100 on how we help them manage the disease of addiction. This represents a high level of satisfaction with care. (See Google reviews)

Fifty percent of patients who start treatment have either an anxiety or depressive disorder which effects their ability to function normally. Currently only 10 percent of patients at South Hills Recovery Project have an anxiety or depressive disorders.

95% of patients who have been in treatment for 1 year or more reported remarkable improvement in the following areas:


I deal more effectively with daily problems.
I feel better about myself.
I am better able to control my life. 
I am better able to deal with crisis.
I am getting along better with my family.
I do better in social situations. 
I do better in school or work.
I do better with my leisure time.
My housing situation has improved.
My symptoms are not bothering me as much.
I have become more independent. 
I have become more effective in getting what I need.
I can deal better with people and situations that used to be a problem
for me.
I am better able to get physical health care.
My employment situation has improved.

Average number of months employed 42 months
Average number of months married/living together. 56 months

Average out of pocket cost clinic visits 175.00 month
Average cost of medication if patient has no insurance 175.00/month
Average cost of medication per month with any insurance 20.00/month

Average time from first call requesting appointment until appointment 2 days.
Percentage of patients who receive psychiatric evaluation and treatment 100%
Psychiatric evaluation done at first appointment. Treatment started immediately.
Percentage of patients who receive a complete psychosocial assessment. 100%
Percentage of patients who receive a needs assessment. 100%
Percentage of patients who have access to counseling/case management. 100%.

Average number of time taken off from work to attend treatment 1/2 day a month.
Percentage of patients who are offered HepC screening, and treatment. 100%
Percentage of patients who are offered smoking cessation treatment 100%
Percentage of patients who receive individual counseling from doctor or counselor 100%.
Average wait time for appointment 15 mins.

Areas of treatment we are actively working to improve are:

Access to peer support specialists 24/7.
Virtual doctors visit via the internet when appropriate.
Full-time case manager to assist patients with other problems such as finding a job, housing assistance, childcare, medical referrals, dental referrals, and financial aid.
Funding for patients unable to afford care or medication.
Mobile phone application for scheduling appts, refills on medications, peer support,

The staff at South Hills Recovery Project is proud of its efforts to help those in our community with Opiate Use Disorder and related mental health conditions. We are proud of the many people who have regained their lives and found satisfaction in life again.