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NCAD attendees will convene at pivotal time

August 21, 2013
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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I look forward to seeing many of you again, and meeting others for the first time, at this year’s National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) in Anaheim, Calif. The July/August issue of Addiction Professional offers a preview of several expected highlights at the Sept. 21-24 gathering of clinical and administrative professionals from all sectors of the addiction treatment community.

With implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and issuance of final regulations for the federal parity law both right around the corner, the September time frame offers an ideal opportunity for treatment professionals to network and to explore what the broader changes in healthcare delivery mean for them at home. Our cover subject in this issue, David Mee-Lee, MD, will offer his insightful and always motivational perspectives in a Sept. 23 plenary address, and his cover story here addresses his view of the changing landscape in clinical standards.

This fall’s planned release of the revised ASAM Criteria, coupled with publication of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) DSM-5 earlier this year, signal a major breakthrough for clinical professionals and their employers, Mee-Lee believes. The architect of ASAM’s clinical criteria believes that the greater accessibility of the revision might finally allow ASAM to see the criteria fulfill the intended promise of guiding higher-quality treatment—not merely guaranteeing payment for a standard service.

I’m pleased once again this year to be presenting our Outstanding Clinicians Awards at NCAD; we must never pass up the chance to celebrate the victories individuals achieve in this field, often against difficult odds. It is especially gratifying to be formally recognizing the nursing profession for the first time in the awards this year, as the role of the nurse on the treatment team continues to take on prominence in organizations that have committed themselves to offering comprehensive care.

The profiles of our four winners reflect so many of the emerging issues that are shaping addiction treatment’s role in the healthcare marketplace, from integration with general medicine to inroads with special populations to treatment of process addictions that intersect with substance use.

Also in this issue, associate editor Shannon Brys discusses Rogers Memorial Hospital’s innovative approaches to experiential therapy, a topic that will be featured on NCAD’s Sept. 21 preconference agenda. If you’re planning to attend one of those scheduled sessions on Saturday, get ready not to be a passive recipient of information, but to become an active participant in a meaningful experiential exercise!

With input from so many organizations representing a cross-section of the treatment marketplace (including our new sponsoring partner the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium), NCAD this year will offer numerous opportunities for meeting individuals who could become your new partners in navigating a changing service system.

Please take the opportunity at NCAD to let us know what you want us to cover in the magazine and on our website. If you use social media, use our Twitter hashtag #NCADcon while at the conference. You can share with others not only what you’re attending at the conference, but also a newly learned fact or tip from each of the presenters you see. Let’s connect with one another and with the profession at large in Southern California!