By Mark Powell
Reaching through the Window of Opportunity
Substance use disorder is a disease that can be treated. Acknowledgement of this fact is often the first step for those that need treatment. However, finding treatment has not always been the easiest process.
In early 2018, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) partnered with Indiana 211 (IN211) and OpenBeds® to provide Hoosiers live treatment access across the state, by simply dialing 2-1-1.
IN211 is a free service that connects Hoosiers with help and answers from thousands of health and human service agencies and resources right in their local communities. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via talk, text, and online.
“We provide callers with resources and referrals for everyday needs and in times of crisis,” explains Catherine McNaughton, Community Resource Manager. “Calls range from basic needs to disaster response, suicide, abuse claims, mental health and addiction, and family support.”
In March 2018, Indiana FSSA and IN211 partnered with OpenBeds®, a software platform that helps government health agencies increase access to behavioral health care and decrease costs.
“It’s focused on substance use disorder treatment and recovery,” McNaughton says. “Hundreds of treatment providers across the state are in the database. When someone calls, they’re assessed on a 1-10 scale. Their number helps to determine the level of care they need, such as inpatient, outpatient, support services, etc.”
Once the assessment is complete, a direct referral is made through the system. The program provides real-time data showing open beds at treatment facilities that cater to a specific user’s needs. That enables people to get into treatment quicker.
The new service quickly became a hit. In its first month alone, 100 people received referrals.
By making access faster and more efficient, the IN211 and OpenBeds® project is removing significant barriers to treatment.
Indiana 2-1-1 Open Beds Program was a featured award winner in the 2019 Innovation Now project of the Addiction Policy Forum.
J. Mark Powell is an author, former network journalist, and veteran communications expert.