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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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In compliance with section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 concerning opportunity for public comment on proposed collections of information, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will publish periodic summaries of proposed projects. To request more information on the proposed projects or to obtain a copy of the information collection plans, call the SAMHSA Reports Clearance Officer on (301) 443-7978.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Proposed Project: Opioid Treatment Program Accreditation Evaluation—New—The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Division of Pharmacologic Therapies (DPT), is evaluating the new system of opioid treatment program (OTP) regulation, which relies on accreditation by independent organizations approved by CSAT. This replaces the former system of regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Effective May 18, 2001, SAMHSA and CSAT, in conjunction with the FDA and other Federal agencies, issued “final regulations for the use of narcotic drugs in maintenance and detoxification treatment of opioid addiction,” 42 CFR part 8. To date, SAMHSA has approved four organizations to provide accreditation to or conduct accreditation surveys of programs that use methadone and other approved medications to treat opioid addiction: (1) The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), (2) the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), (3) Start Printed Page 5649the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services (COA), and (4) the State of Washington Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. The shift to an accreditation approach is expected to improve the quality of, and access to, OTPs.

An earlier, related study, conducted prior to accreditation, examined the experience of a pilot group of OTPs undergoing the accreditation process with extensive technical assistance provided through CSAT. Now that accreditation has become mandatory, the current study will assess its impact on OTPs, and the field of substance abuse treatment at a critical beginning phase.

The primary purposes of the proposed OTP Accreditation Evaluation are to assess the accreditation process and its cost and impact, and to provide input to CSAT concerning how the process might be improved. Specifically, the OTP Accreditation Evaluation will examine: (1) Processes, barriers, and costs associated with accreditation, (2) administrative and clinical impacts, (3) cost to the federal government for national implementation of the new regulations, and (4) potential policy changes affecting the accreditation-based oversight system.

The evaluation will be accomplished by secondary analysis of existing data as well as by collecting data before and after accreditation, from different sources and using several different data collection methods. Given the great diversity of this relatively small body of programs, the first data collection effort involves administering a questionnaire to all OTPs. The questionnaire is intended to elicit information about the resources programs need to prepare for accreditation and undergo the accreditation survey; services provided; the costs of providing these services; and staff perceptions of the accreditation process. Three vesions of the questionnaire will be used to accommodate OTPs' accreditation survey schedules: a pre-accreditation questionnaire, a post-accreditation questionnaire, and a post-only accreditation questionnaire. All OTPs will receive one or two questionnaires, depending on their accreditation survey status. OTPs that have not undergone an accreditation survey at the start of data collection will receive a pre-accreditation questionnaire. These OTPs will also receive a post-accreditation questionnaire six months after their accreditation survey. OTPs that have been accredited for less than four months at the start of data collection will receive a post-only questionnaire and a post-accreditation questionnaire at six months after their accreditation survey. OTPs that have been accredited for more than four months at the start of data collection will receive a post-only questionnaire.

In addition to the OTP survey, data will be obtained from existing sources including SAMHSA surveys such as the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) and the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). These will provide an historical perspective on opioid treatment services and insight regarding the extent of opioid addiction service episodes. Information from the questionnaire administered to all OTPs will be supplemented and validated by more intensive data collection to be conducted with a small sample of OTPs that have not yet undergone accreditation, stratifying on factors determined by the earlier study to be related to OTPs' accreditation experience. Data will be collected from the smaller sample of OTPs through several means over the course of one year per program (six months before and six months after an accreditation survey): (1) A questionnaire administered on-site to patients to obtain patient perceptions about accreditation and level of satisfaction (2) chart abstraction by contractor staff of limited patient outcomes data, (3) activity logs to capture the amount of OTP staff time spent by OTP staff in various broad activities, and (4) interviews with OTP staff and related community organizations concerning their perceptions and experience.

The estimated response burden for the proposed OTP accreditation evaluation over a period of two years is summarized below.

FormNumber of respondentsResponses/respondentTotal responsesHours/responseTotal hour burden
Self-administered pre-accreditation questionnaire60016001600
Self-administered post-accreditation questionnaire70017001700
Self-administered post-accreditation-only questionnaire50015001500
Activity logs24031274,880.17,488
Activity summary worksheet60261,56011,560
Chart abstraction (OTP staff spent pulling charts etc.)6021201120
Patient questionnaire6,00016,000.31,800
OTP/CBO staff interview3002600.7420
2-year Annual Average3,85042,4806,594

Send comments to Nancy Pearce, SAMHSA Reports Clearance Officer, Room 16-105, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

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Dated: January 28, 2003.

Richard Kopanda,

Executive Officer, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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[FR Doc. 03-2489 Filed 2-3-03; 8:45 am]