Chronic care management (CCM) is a way of delivering care that has been shown to be effective for chronic medical and mental health conditions. "Chronic care management is multidisciplinary patient-centered proactive care, a way to organize services that provides coordination and expertise, and has been effective for depression, medical illnesses, and tobacco dependence (a substance use disorder)," the authors write. Trials of integrated medical and addiction care suggest that CCM may be effective for treating addiction, particularly since care elements long known to be effective for addiction overlap with CCM approaches.
Richard Saitz, M.D., M.P.H., of Boston Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a study to examine whether CCM for alcohol and other drug dependence improves substance use outcomes compared with usual primary care. Participants (n = 563) were recruited between September 2006 to September 2008 from a freestanding residential detoxification unit, and from referrals to an urban teaching hospital and from advertisements; 95 percent completed 12-month follow-up. Participants were randomized to receive CCM (n=282) or no CCM (n=281).
The chronic care management group received longitudinal care coordinated with a primary care clinician; motivational enhancement therapy; relapse prevention counseling; and on-site medical, addiction, and psychiatric treatment, social work assistance, and referrals (to specialty addiction treatment mutual help). The primary care group received a timely appointment and a list of addiction treatment resources including a telephone number to arrange counseling.
The researchers found no difference in abstinence from stimulants, opioids, and heavy drinking between the CCM intervention and control group (44 percent vs. 42 percent, respectively, at 12 months). In a subgroup of patients with alcohol dependence, there were fewer alcohol problems among those who received the intervention.
The authors did not detect differences in secondary outcomes of addiction severity, health-related quality of life, or drug problems.
The authors write that current health care reforms in the United States include a focus on CCM in patient-centered medical homes to reduce chronic disease burden and to reduce costs (both of which are among the highest for those with addiction), in part because numerous studies have found such benefits for medical and mental health conditions. "Even though CCM is effective for a number of chronic conditions, it may be premature to assume that CCM will be the solution to improve the quality of care for and reduce costs of patients with addiction," the authors write. Further research is warranted to determine whether more intensive or longer-duration CCM, or CCM designed differently, might do so."