Breaking Barriers and Increasing Access to Substance Abuse Treatment for Women

Crossroads for Women is one of 9 Maine agencies participating in the Strengthening Treatment Access and Retention-State Implementation (STAR-SI) program. Under STAR-SI, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded grants to 7 states, including Maine, in a national effort to increase individual access to and retention in community-based outpatient substance abuse treatment programs.

Crossroads for Women offers outpatient, intensive outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment services to Maine women and their family members. The 2-year grant will enable the agency to provide treatment to a greater number of women by improving the efficiency of the assessment and admissions processes.

September 2007 marks the end of the 1st year of the grant, and Crossroads for Women has taken several steps to increase access and reduce barriers to substance abuse treatment for women in Maine. Some of the changes that were implemented in the 1st year include:

  • Providing next day assessment for those that live within a 1.5 hour driving distance. Walk-in hours were established M-F between 8:00am – 10:00:am and 1:00pm – 3:00pm, making it easier for women to come in as close to when they first called as possible.
  • Shortening the phone screen, which is conducted when a client makes her 1st call to Crossroads for Women, to 3 simple questions.
  • Simplifying Crossroads for Women’s assessment tool, given when clients make their 1st visit to Crossroads for Women’s client services office in downtown Portland, ME.
  • Using a centralized intake for all referrals to another level of care within Crossroads for Women’s 3 facilities, making it easier for a client to move from one level of care to the other.

The changes that were implemented as part of the STAR-SI grant showed a positive impact, including a 23.8% increase in phone screens, 28.9% increase in assessments, 64.5% increase in Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) sessions and 51% increase in outpatient group sessions. Thus, the changes have been incorporated as a business practice at Crossroads for Women.

Read more about STAR-SI

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