Voice Opinions on ASAM Patient Placement Criteria

More than a decade has passed since the ASAM Patient Placement Criteria were revised, and the time has come for an update, particularly to incorporate more strength-based and recovery-oriented terminology, says ASAM Criteria Editor David Mee-Lee, M.D. He will join David Gastfriend, M.D., a Newton, Mass., addiction psychiatrist and developer of the ASAM Criteria Software, in convening Component Session 9 “Town Meeting on the ASAM Criteria Revision (PPC)” from 10 a.m. to noon, Sunday, in Grand Salon East, Salon B, to discuss the criteria and obtain feedback.

“It has been more than 10 years since the criteria were revised, and there have been changes in how those standards are applied, especially with regard to special populations, such as parents with children, older adults, people in safety sensitive positions, and those in criminal justice settings,” says Dr. Mee-Lee, Senior Vice President, The Change Companies in Carson City, Nev. “We wanted to give addiction medicine specialists more information on applying the criteria to those special populations and also in managed-care settings.”

The Diagnostic Admission Criteria are also being modified for each level of care to be compatible with DSM-5 of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which is planning to release DSM-5 in 2013.

“That is also our target date for the ASAM Criteria revision,” Dr. Mee-Lee says. “We are not changing specific Dimensional Admission Criteria unless there are errors or updates necessary due to new knowledge since the publication of the Second Edition Revised PPC-2R in 2001, which is still the current edition.”

Sunday’s component session will follow a town-meeting format to provide participants with an overview of the changes proposed that will go to extensive field review, he says.

“We want feedback on the direction we are going with the current revisions, so we have called a town hall to give people a chance to be briefed on the changes and also to get input and feedback based on the various experiences of the audience,” Dr. Mee-Lee says. “This is not a total rewrite of all of the specific admission criteria rules unless, of course, there are obvious mistakes and errors that need be corrected. It’s about improvements to help people better use the criteria. Once we get extensive field-review feedback on drafts yet to be completed, the other workgroup chairs involved in revision drafts and I will make our final changes.”

Dr. Mee-Lee says one of the big challenges to finalizing the revision process is that all of the work groups include volunteers, who are busy with their own work.

“The first challenge is finding the time to make the changes,” he says. “The second issue is that because we want to be representative of not just physicians but other disciplines as well, that means that we have interdisciplinary groups working together, all of whom are getting input from a variety of clinicians and not just doctors. That makes for a variety of differing perspectives on what is important.”

Dr. Mee-Lee says it is essential to draw a good attendance at the Sunday town hall session.

“We need input and feedback from as many attendees at the meeting as we can get,” he says. “That is the bottom line.”