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Disease Management for Behavioral Health Populations

A Naturalistic Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Protracted Telephone-Based Recovery Assistance Program on Continuing Care Outcomes

A closer look at the effectiveness of the AiRCare approach

Background & Objective: Substance use disorder treatments are increasingly being contextualized within a disease
management framework. Within this context, there is an identified need to maintain patients in treatment for
longer periods of time in order to help them learn how to manage their disease. One way to meet this need is
through telephone-based interventions that engage patients, and include more active outreach attempts and
involvement of the patient’s family. This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of three formats of an intensive
12-month post-discharge telephone-based case management approach (AiRCare) on adherence to continuing care
plans and substance use outcomes.

Methods: Data were abstracted from electronic medical records for 379 patients (59.9% male) discharged from a
residential treatment program located in the southwestern U.S. from 2013 to 2015. Patients were categorized
into one of three groups and received telephone contacts based on their self-selection upon admission to residential
treatment (i.e., patient only, family only, and both patient and family). Outcome variables included re-engagement
and re-admission rates, quality of life, abstinence rates at 6 and 12 months, and compliance with continuing
care plans.

Results&Conclusions: Favorable short- and long-term outcomes were found for the majority of patients, irrespective
of case management group. There appeared to be some value in the addition of family contacts to patient contacts
with respect to reducing risk for 12-month re-admission to residential care. These positive but preliminary indications
of the effectiveness of AiRCare require replication in a well-powered, randomized controlled trial.

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