What is patient-centered care? Patient-centered care is the practice of caring for patients (and their families) in ways that are meaningful and valuable to the individual patient. It includes listening to, informing and involving patients in their care. The Institute of Medicine defines patient-centered care as “providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide clinical decisions.”

With all of the different levels of care from inpatient detox to outpatient MAT, how can we ensure that people receive a patient-centered approach and are given all options for addiction treatment? Too often, patients and their families enter into treatment in crisis and their goals are silently assumed or dictated to them, reducing their choices and decreasing their own engagement in care choices.

How can we engage our legislators in this conversation?

  • We can ask to define “informed decision-making” as a core criterion of patient-centeredness and a goal of each alternative payment model. Patient-centeredness criteria tied to care delivery that seeks to understand and achieve individual patients’ goals for their care. A tangible barrier to achieving patients’ goals for their care is that the time for care planning is not reimbursed or rewarded systematically.

Patient-centered care, if done right, does not result in higher costs, but can indeed lower overall spending.

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