Practice Spotlight: The Ark of DC Integrates Services for Residents with Opioid Use Disorders

Challenge: The Ark of DC is a freestanding mental health clinic that provides behavioral health services to approximately 1,200 patients each year. To reduce patient time spent going to multiple providers for mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, The Ark of DC decided to enroll in practice coaching with Integrated Care DC to help achieve its goal of certification as an opioid treatment provider (OTP). This step would allow its team to deliver more integrated and holistic person-centered behavioral health services, including counseling and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for people with opioid use disorders (OUD).

Approach: Coaches from Integrated Care DC assisted The Ark of DC with select elements of the OTP certification application, including defining community need and gaps in care. Working with the coaches, The Ark of DC also evaluated and implemented protocols for universal SUD screening and expanded MAT to provide buprenorphine, and developed workflows to support the integration of MAT services.

Integrated Care DC coaches conducted trainings for The Ark of DC team on SUD and social determinants of health (SDOH), how to use the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST-10) universal SUD screening tool, and the concept of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment. Additionally, coaches and The Ark of DC clinical team worked with AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia, one of the District’s Medicaid managed care organizations, to understand the quality metrics needed to demonstrate improved care and identify further areas for improvement.

Results: With the practice-level coaching provided by Integrated Care DC between November 2021 and May 2023, The Ark of DC successfully:

  • Implemented universal SUD screening and built the DAST-10 form into electronic health record.
  • Used DAST-10 with more than 1,200 patients at intake with planned rescreening every six months.
  • Expanded SUD and OUD treatment services available on-site. Obtained provisional Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration certification.