NIATx launches ACTION Campaign II: Financial Strength in a Changing World

In the United States, 23.2 million persons aged 12 or older need treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, yet only one in ten receive treatment.*  Substance abuse treatment agencies struggle to improve access to the growing need for treatment. With states slashing budgets for substance abuse treatment, providers are under pressure to keep their doors open.

To address this challenge, NIATx has launched Adopting Changes to Improve Outcomes Now (ACTION) Campaign II: Financial Strength in a Changing World. This 18-month initiative aims to help behavioral health care providers improve services while reducing costs and increasing revenue.

NIATx is a pioneering improvement collaborative that works with substance abuse and behavioral health organizations across the country. Part of the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, NIATx teaches organizations to use a simple process improvement model developed under the leadership of Dr. David Gustafson, professor of industrial engineering.

Since its inception in 2003, NIATx has accumulated data from participating organizations showing that making just one small change in a system improves both customer service and the financial health of the organization.

 “For example, offering same-day service instead of scheduled appointments means more clients entering treatment and increased revenue for providers capable of billing for services,” says Campaign Director Kim Johnson.

The ACTION Campaign II challenges treatment agencies nationwide to implement one of several simple changes in their treatment operations over an 18-month period. It promotes the adoption of proven NIATx practices for enhancing client access to care and their overall engagement in treatment. 

ACTION Campaign II follows the first ACTION Campaign, which ran from September 2007 through March 2009. The first Campaign met its initial goal to recruit 500 agencies over an 18-month period in just four months after launch. By the end of the campaign, 980 organizations and 1300 individuals had signed on to adopting promising practices to improve client access to and retention in treatment. 

“The first campaign was so successful that we chose to launch a second campaign, with a specific focus on improving services, reducing costs, and increasing revenue,” says Johnson.

There is no cost to participate in the ACTION Campaign II. Resources include an online toolkit, twice-monthly webinars, and regional learning collaboratives.

For more information or to enroll in the ACTION Campaign II, visit

* Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies (2008). Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (NSDUH Series H-34, DHHS Publication No. SMA 08-4343). Rockville, MD.

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