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Importance of Sustainability Planning

To achieve sustainability, rural substance abuse treatment programs must show that the program has had a measurable impact on the lives of people served by the program and the overall community. Therefore, evaluation is important. However, demonstrating impact and creating changes in communities take time.

Rural substance abuse treatment programs plan for sustainability with a consortium of partners that represent the hospitals, providers, and programs in the community. While some programs develop a formal sustainability plan, many do not and instead identify several key sustainability strategies.

Key issues to consider when planning for sustainability of substance abuse treatment programs include:

  • Planning for potential staff turnover and training of new staff
  • Planning for the future of the program consortium and the method of communication among partners in the future
  • Tracking new research findings and best practices
  • Monitoring population demographics, changes, and trends in the community
  • Identifying funds for important equipment, particularly for naloxone expansion programs

The Rural Health Information Hub's Sustainability Planning Tools section provides access to resources developed by the Georgia Health Policy Center that can help rural organizations plan for sustainability.

Resources to Learn More

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Strategies to Optimize your Practice
Primer that provides an overview of CQI, along with strategies and best practices for implementing quality improvement strategies in healthcare settings.
Organization(s): The National Learning Consortium, Health Information Technology Research Center
Date: 4/2013

Implementing Change in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
A report that gives planning, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability guidance for substance abuse treatment programs.
Organization(s): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Date: 2009