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Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awards $1.35 million grant to Legal Action Center and its partners, Treatment Research Institute and Truven Health, to address adolescent substance use care

NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In an effort to improve adolescent wellness, prevention and early interventions, Legal Action Center (LAC) has partnered with the Treatment Research Institute (TRI) and Truven Health Analytics (Truven Health) to assess how the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Act) is impacting adolescent substance use care.

Through a $1.35 million grant over three years from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, LAC and its partners will evaluate how the full range of adolescent prevention and early intervention services are being offered and to what extent insurers are implementing these services. They also will educate service providers about federal confidentiality requirements crucial to encouraging youth to seek services.

"Recent legislation has provided the incentive and financing to significantly bolster a more robust public health approach to reducing substance use problems among adolescents," said Paul Samuels, Director and President of LAC. "By combining the expertise of the scientific, analytic and policy fields, we have an opportunity to identify and expand the promised interventions of the Affordable Care and Parity Acts and truly change the course of addiction for the next generation."

"Young people can be reluctant to share stigmatizing information with adults for fear that it will be disclosed to parents and others. This grant will help ensure that providers serving adolescents understand their confidentiality obligations," said Sally Friedman, Legal Director of LAC.

Young people are entitled to a full range of prevention, early intervention and management services for substance use disorders that are on par with those provided for other chronic illnesses through these laws. Although adolescence represents a vital window in which to provide services for the prevention and mitigation of alcohol and other drug use (AOD), the state of substance use prevention, intervention and treatment for adolescents and young adults is inadequate and underfunded. The majority of young people do not receive the services they need.

"That is the bad news," says Mady Chalk, PhD, Director of the TRI Policy Center. "The good news is that ACA and Parity provide the opportunity to improve implementation of identified evidence-based preventive services for adolescents, and make sure that insurers provide coverage and benefits for those services – that is what this project aims to do. Effective screenings and early interventions exist and they must be taken to scale around the nation. The Parity law has the potential to dramatically expand coverage for, and access to, these life-saving services."

"We know youth are particularly vulnerable to the harms associated with substance misuse, and if we can help prevent them from using or intervene early it is unlikely they will develop a substance use disorder," says Steven M. Hilton, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. "We believe the project at hand and the partners leading it will continue to demonstrate the significant improvement which evidence-based measures can bring to preventing, treating, and ultimately reducing substance use among adolescents."

In order to help the nation take full advantage of what the ACA and Parity Act now offer, the project partners will focus on the following objectives: document and analyze the status of ACA and Parity implementation, focusing on insurance coverage; evaluate how screening and brief intervention providers offer services; inform and educate purchasers, payers, and other stakeholders of the services mandated by law; and ensure that providers understand federal confidentiality rules.

LAC, TRI and Truven Health play a major role in evaluating how the Parity and Affordable Care Acts and state health care reform laws are being implemented across the country. Each of the partnering organizations share a longstanding commitment to improving how substance use disorders are perceived and managed in society, providing the necessary and complimentary expertise to achieve this project's objectives.

About Legal Action Center
The Legal Action Center is the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas. For four decades, LAC has worked to combat the stigma and prejudice that keep these individuals out of the mainstream of society. The Legal Action Center is committed to helping people reclaim their lives, maintain their dignity, and participate fully in society as productive, responsible citizens. Learn more.

About Treatment Research Institute
Treatment Research Institute has been a leader in the substance use research field, with a belief that science can only be truly impactful when it is used to improve policies, programs and practices. TRI's work focuses on applying research to change behaviors, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for individuals, families, and communities affected by addiction. Collaborations with distinguished partners from across the globe have enhanced TRI's quest to advance the ways in which addiction is perceived and cared for. TRI's relentless commitment to discovering and disseminating SOLUTIONS to substance-use problems drives its work, mission, and vision. Learn more.

About Truven Health Analytics
Truven Health Analytics delivers unbiased information, analytic tools, benchmarks, and services to the healthcare industry. Hospitals, government agencies, employers, health plans, clinicians, and pharmaceutical and medical device companies have relied on Truven for more than 30 years. In combining deep clinical, financial, and healthcare management expertise with innovative technology platforms and information assets to make healthcare better, Truven collaborates with customers to uncover and realize opportunities for improving quality, efficiency, and outcomes. Learn more.

About Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world's disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton's support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $92 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2013. The Foundation's current assets are approximately $2.4 billion. Learn more.

CONTACT: Debra Snyder Treatment Research Institute dsnyder@tresearch.org 215-399-0980 x175Source:Treatment Research Institute(TRI)