Spectrum’s “Same Day Admissions Process” was recently highlighted in an article published in the April 2008 issue of Behavioral Healthcare. Dennis Theriault, director of quality improvement, and Kristin Nolan, director of outpatient services, collaborated in writing the article, “Everybody Likes Same-Day Service.”

Quality improvement activities and client satisfaction surveys conducted two years ago at Spectrum’s four outpatient methadone clinics in Massachusetts indicated that the length of time it took clients to complete the admission process was a major barrier for clients seeking treatment. On average, ten days elapsed from the time of initial contact to the client’s first dose of methadone. As a result, approximately two-thirds of clients never showed up for their initial intake appointment.

To address this issue, Spectrum implemented “Same Day Admissions” on Wednesdays, beginning June 2006. Clients now complete all steps of the admission process in one day, including a clinical intake interview, toxicology screen and medical evaluation. The entire process takes two to four hours to complete. Afterward, the client can begin treatment if clinically and medically appropriate.

“Admitting a relatively large number of clients in one day has freed up resources on other days to allow traditional admissions to be scheduled sooner,” said Nolan. “The impact has been dramatic,” added Theriault. “Since the inception of the Same-Day Admissions Process, average wait times have declined, show rates have improved, and more clients are getting into treatment while their motivation levels are high.”

Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit substance abuse and mental health treatment provider. In addition to Massachusetts, Spectrum operates programs in Rhode Island, Georgia, Tennessee, Maine, Maryland and Iowa – serving 18,000 adults and at-risk youth each year. Spectrum’s outpatient methadone clinics treat more than 1,400 clients on a daily basis.