How Do Your Treatment Completion Rates Compare?

One of most critical elements for an addiction treatment program to manage effectively is the percentage of patients who successfully complete treatment.

As our research team analyzed treatment completion data for Vista’s first Outcomes Summit last week, we were surprised by the wide range of treatment completion rates among our clients.  Among short-term residential treatment programs using INSIGHT Addiction™, for example, the percentage of patients who successfully completed all recommended treatment ranged between 43% and 97% at different programs.  We also saw substantial variability in treatment completion rates for programs providing long-term residential or IOP treatment as well as those providing a full continuum of care.

Treatment completion rate is one of the few addiction treatment areas where excellent national normative data exists.  SAMHSA compiles information on roughly 1.3 million SUD patient discharges each year in its Treatment Episode Data Set: Discharges (TEDS-D).  According to the latest TEDS-D data, 56% of patients successfully completed treatment at short-term residential (< 30 days) SUD programs in 2014:


You can download an overview of the TEDS-D treatment completion norms for different types of addiction treatment here.  Armed with this data, we highly recommend you compare your treatment completion rates with the national average for your type(s) of treatment.

Why does the percentage of patients who successfully complete treatment matter so much?  Because research shows that patients who successfully complete treatment are far more likely to remain abstinent after treatment than those who don’t.   

For example, data from multiple treatment programs using Vista’s RECOVERY 20/20™ outcomes research shows that the percentage of patients who are reachable and claim to be abstinent six months after treatment is dramatically higher among patients who successfully complete treatment:   


Because of this strong correlation between successful treatment completion and post-treatment abstinence, it is clear that one of the most important ways a treatment center can improve its outcomes is to focus on reducing the number of patients who leave treatment against medical advice (AMA).  Like most things, of course, this is only true up to a point – you don’t want to allow trouble-makers who aren’t serious about treatment to poison the recovery environment of your facility.

Vista’s next Outcomes Summit will be in November 2018.  If you are potentially interested in attending this by-invitation-only event to brainstorm with other addiction treatment thought leaders about how to improve treatment results, please let us know.