The Case for Chronic Disease Management for Addiction
Chronic disease (care) management (CDM) is a patient-centered model of care that involves longitudinal care delivery; integrated, and coordinated primary medical and specialty care; patient and clinician education; explicit evidence-based care plans; and expert care availability. The model, incorporating mental health and specialty addiction care, holds promise for improving care for patients with substance dependence who often receive no care or fragmented ineffective care. We describe a CDM model for substance dependence and discuss a conceptual framework, the extensive current evidence for component elements, and a promising strategy to reorganize primary and specialty health care to facilitate access for people with substance dependence. The CDM model goes beyond integrated case management by a professional, colocation of services, and integrated medical and addiction care—elements that individually can improve outcomes. Supporting evidence is presented that: 1) substance dependence is a chronic disease requiring longitudinal care, although most patients with addictions receive no treatment (eg, detoxification only) or short-term interventions, and 2) for other chronic diseases requiring longitudinal care (eg, diabetes, congestive heart failure), CDM has been proven effective.