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VOLUME 47 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2012


Management Systems, Patient Quality Improvement, Resource Availability, and Substance Abuse Treatment Quality

Keywords: Internal management practices;quality management;substance use disorder treatment quality;behavioral health services

Objective: To examine the relationships among general management systems, patient-focused quality management/continuous process improvement (TQM/CPI) processes, resource availability, and multiple dimensions of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Data are from a nationally representative sample of 221 SUD treatment centers through the National Treatment Center Study (NTCS).

Study Design: The design was a cross-sectional field study using latent variable structural equation models. The key variables are management practices, TQM/continuous quality improvement (CQI) practices, resource availability, and treatment center performance.

Data Collection: Interviews and questionnaires provided data from treatment center administrative directors and clinical directors in 2007–2008.

Principal Findings: Patient-focused TQM/CQI practices fully mediated the relationship between internal management practices and performance. The effects of TQM/CQI on performance are significantly larger for treatment centers with higher levels of staff per patient.

Conclusions: Internal management practices may create a setting that supports implementation of specific patient-focused practices and protocols inherent to TQM/CQI processes. However, the positive effects of internal management practices on treatment center performance occur through use of specific patient-focused TQM/CPI practices and have more impact when greater amounts of supporting resources are present.

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