Another benefit of using a value-based care model to treat substance use disorders is that it could help save a substantial amount of money. Substance disorders cost the American economy $740 billion annually in healthcare expenses, lost workplace productivity and crime-related costs.
When people engage in ongoing drug and alcohol abuse, it’s going to start taking a toll on their health. Years of heavy drinking can cause liver disease and certain cancers. Ongoing marijuana use can lead to chronic bronchitis and the use of stimulants such as cocaine and heroin can cause heart disease. All of these conditions mean more trips to the doctor and medications to manage them, which can be taxing on the American healthcare system. Substance abuse can also cause more trips to the emergency room when people overdose. In 2021 alone, there were over 107,000 fatal overdoses in the United States.
“I was at my girlfriend’s house and told her I was going to take a shower and that’s when I overdosed in the bathroom.”
Nate Moellering, a community outreach coordinator at Allendale Treatment and Fort Wayne Recovery says that he was lucky he didn’t lose his life overdosing twice on the same day. “I was at my girlfriend’s house and told her I was going to take a shower and that’s when I overdosed in the bathroom,” says Moellering. “I remember waking up with firefighters standing over me. They put me in an ambulance and took me to the hospital. I didn’t stay long because I left against medical advice and 6 hours later, I was back at her house after I had scored some more heroin and overdosed again. EMS had to be sent out to her house twice to revive me in less than 24 hours.”
Substance abuse in the workforce can cause a variety of problems including workplace accidents, employee absenteeism, decreased productivity and conflict with other employees. A national survey reported that 15.3% of workers admitted to working under the influence of alcohol. This has led to more employers embracing value-based care models to expand on substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services for employees.
Incarceration rates could also decrease from a value-based care model. 85% of the prison population has an active substance use disorder or were incarcerated for a crime involving drugs or drug use. Prisons often fail to provide any substance abuse treatment and the ones that do, often only provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and no mental health counseling. This means that once an inmate is released from jail, they will often continue to engage in their substance use disorder and stay trapped in the cycle of drug use driving up crime and incarceration rates.
By focusing on creating a comprehensive healthcare approach for people struggling with a substance abuse disorder, the value-based care model can help more people overcome their addictions while also creating a healthier, safer and more productive society.