BHB Tech Talks: Key Considerations on Value-Based Care for Substance Use Disorder with CHESS Health


This article is sponsored by CHESS Health. This article is based on a Behavioral Health News Tech Talks virtual discussion with Hans Morefield, CEO of CHESS Health and Greg Williams, Co-Founder of Third Horizon Strategies and Managing Director of the Alliance for Addiction Payment Reform. The discussion took place virtually on June 7, 2022.

Health plans increasingly recognize the importance of addressing substance use disorder (SUD) among members because of the correlation on their total cost of care (3-4x the cost of members without SUD). At the same time, health plans are seeing rapidly increasing SUD treatment costs. For both reasons, the transition to value-based care for SUD treatment is accelerating to align provider incentives with health plan outcomes goals and innovators, in turn, are seeking ways to link care across a continuum.

“We need to find ways and pathways to link SUD care across disparate parts of the current services,” said Greg Williams, Managing Director of Third Horizon Strategies and Co-Founder of the Alliance for Addiction Payment Reform, in a recent BHB Tech Talks virtual discussion.

It may be difficult to predict when an individual is going to reach out or be engaged in care, but value-based payment can help realign how care providers are incentivized to deliver care for people with behavioral health needs, especially for those with SUD.

“We should be buying a constellation of services, not an individual point solution or an individual area on the care continuum like we do today,” Williams says. Toward this effort, behavioral health care providers should consider some key principles when it comes to supporting patient recovery under value-based care:

  • Care for substance use disorder should be delivered by a wide variety of providers. That might include credentialed SUD professionals, peer recovery coaches, care coordination providers, primary care, and behavioral health specialists. All of these people might serve different functions for people, including connections with other health providers such as those providing dental or pharmacy services.
  • Right people, right time. “We need to make sure that we’re tracking folks, making sure that they’re getting to the right people at the right time, and have recovery support available all hours of the day and night,” Williams says. “That’s where technology really becomes indispensable to value-based care for substance use disorder.”
  • Care gaps can be critical recovery opportunities. It’s important to remember that, even when individuals are in Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and outpatient treatment, there are gaps in care between their actual visits. For a lot of recovery services, or a lot of treatment, that gap is a full week between visits. Providers need to solve for support between visits, and this is another area where technology can help.

Technology can help providers succeed in value-based care two ways. First, multi-dimensional platforms like CHESS Health’s platform can link and track an individual’s multi-stage treatment, on-going recovery support, and assistance with SDOH needs, as a single, integrated episode rather than a series of disconnected services. Second, patient engagement technology, like CHESS Health’s eRecovery solution, can provide 24/7 recovery support to individuals between treatment visits through a combination of a smartphone app, a peer team, and care management functionality, all focused on helping an individual succeed in treatment, stay in treatment, and succeed in long-term recovery.

“Helping individuals succeed in long-term recovery is something we all care about across the healthcare continuum,” says Morefield. “Providers, health plans, the public sector, community programs, and friends and family all play an important role.”

This article was based on a discussion with CHESS Health. To watch the full discussion on video, please visit:

CHESS Health is the leading provider of evidence-based digital solutions addressing the crisis of addiction and substance use disorder. To learn more, visit: https://www.chess.health/.



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