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Rural telehealth, SBIRT among focus areas in new ATTCs

October 25, 2012
by Alison Knopf, Contributing Writer
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Recovery, LGBT issues do not get specialty centers



The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) has made the next round of five-year awards for the education- and training-focused Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTCs). For the first time, in addition to the traditional regional ATTCs there are specialty ATTCs with their own subject area of focus. Also for the first time, the ATTC regions now mirror federal Health and Human Services (HHS) regions.


There are 15 ATTCs in all (see full list at end of article), and the form of the funding is neither grant not contract. As always, these are “cooperative agreements” in which the ATTCs work closely with SAMHSA. The ATTCs’ purpose is to provide education and training to the addiction treatment workforce in their respective geographic and—in the case of four new agreements—subject matter areas. The four new specialty ATTCs cover American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, rural telehealth, and Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).


The targeted addiction treatment workforce for the education and training, for SAMHSA and ATTC purposes, is defined to include peer service providers.


There is one ATTC national coordinating center, now in Wisconsin run by Kim Johnson of the quality improvement collaborative NIATx. There are 10 regional centers and four focus-area ATTCs. Laurie Krom, who directed the previous national coordinating center in Missouri (now a regional ATTC), will co-chair the new national coordinating center with Johnson.


In alignment with SAMHSA


There was no public announcement of the ATTC awards, which were posted on the SAMHSA website in early October. All 15 ATTCs must be “closely in alignment with SAMHSA’s direction and leadership,” according to Andrea Kopstein, director of the division of services improvement at CSAT. “The primary focus is specialty substance use disorder treatment,” Kopstein said in an interview with Addiction Professional. “But we will also be dealing with other behavioral issues, such as mental illness if it’s co-occurring.”


The new ATTCs will collaborate with SAMHSA’s regional administrators, who were lodged in the HHS regions a year ago.


Asked whether there will be more of a focus on a “behavioral” workforce, as SAMHSA frequently refers to when addressing workforce issues, Krom says, “While I expect that ATTCs will continue to focus considerable time and resources on the specialty addiction treatment and recovery services workforce, I also believe that ATTCs will work closely with SAMHSA regional administrators, [single state agencies], and other regional, state and local stakeholders to tailor services to best meet the workforce development needs of the regions.”