Thursday, March 26, 2009

Admissions to addiction treatment centers dip with institution of tobacco ban according to Treatment Magazine

The Treatment Magazine released an article on 03/21/09 claiming that admissions to addiction treatment centers in New York State is off 1/3 and that AMA, Against Medical Advice, discharges are significantly up since the implementation of OASAS tobacco regulations.

Here is a snippet from the article:

After regulators banned smoking at addiction treatment centers throughout the state mid year last, treatment providers across New York are complaining bitterly, saying that admissions have plummeted in the wake of what is increasingly looking like an arbitrary and ill considered move on the part of the state addictions industry overseer OASAS.

John Haley, the highly regarded chief operating officer of Westhampton-based Seafield Center, estimates that admissions statewide may have fallen by an astounding one-third in the six months or so since state regulators promulagated the no smoking rule. "This has had a devastating impact on the operations and financials of treatment centers virtually everywhere in the state, including ourselves," says Haley, adding that the highly unpopular move by state regulators has served as a kind on one-two punch for addictions services providers. "The recession hit and now this," Haley says. "It hasn't been easy to say the least."

And the financial impact from the addiction center smoking ban is being driven not just by lower admissions, according to Haley. "We have seen our AMA's ["against medical advice" discharges, meaning clients are leaving treatment early, before completion, in droves] soar since the rule was put into effect," he said, adding that he has heard of similar effects at many other centers with which he has been in contact in recent months.

You can access the whole article which is short by clicking here.

GCASA fully supports the OASAS policy and has implemented it for almost one year now beginning in April 8, 2008. While it is a challenge to implement and enforce because nicotine is the biggest and most powerful addiction in the United States, detoxing from tobacco is one the best things people can do for their health.

Also, there is evidence that while admissions may dip at the beginning of a tobacco ban they usually rebound in 6 months. So the cited article may be a bit alarmist, and enabling patient's addictions is not good practice.

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