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SAMHSA's National Outcome Measures:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is pleased to make this fourth annual report to the Nation on the partnership among SAMHSA, the States, and SAMHSA grantees to implement the National Outcome Measures (NOMs) for prevention and treatment of substance use and/or mental disorders. The NOMs have been defined to embody meaningful, real life outcomes for people who are striving to attain and sustain recovery; build resilience; and work, learn, live, and participate fully in their communities.

During the past year, SAMHSA, with input from external partners, has written a comprehensive multi-year data strategy. It is available at

One of the three goals that are defined in this strategy is devoted to the on-going development, implementation, refinement, and use of SAMHSA NOMs and rigorous evaluations. Achievement of the objectives described under this goal is a top priority because SAMHSA recognizes that all levels of government—Federal, State, and local—as well as health services providers and consumers need reliable and timely data to inform decision-making.

SAMHSA currently has the following activities underway to achieve the objectives of the Performance Data Goal of the Strategy:
  • Continue to design, evaluate, and recommend candidate NOMs for domains currently listed as under development.
  • Establish performance measures for major and significant programs based on NOMs.
  • Continue to develop an implementation plan to support NOMs data reporting for States and SAMHSA's significant and major programs.
  • Convene an internal work group for Territory NOMs reporting.
  • Work toward full implementation of Transformation Accountability (TRAC) and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Service Accountability and Monitoring System (CSAMS) and examine ways to promote greater consistency across TRAC, CSAMS, and the Services Accountability Improvement System (SAIS).
  • Initiate a pilot project to support State implementation of augmented client-level data collection systems for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.
  • Continue developing standard TRAC, CSAMS, and SAIS management reports to assist grantee management and monitoring and inquiry responses.
  • Develop benchmarking strategies to determine acceptable levels of outcome.
  • Continue to develop an effective strategy to publicly release performance data disaggregated by grantee (per the Office of Management and Budget [OMB] Program Assessment Rating Tool [PART] requirement).
  • Convene an internal work group to develop an appropriate set of agency standards and procedures for management assessment and program evaluation.
A detailed report on SAMHSA's accomplishments is available at

Looking forward from FY 2009 through FY 2011, SAMHSA will initiate the next set of activities:
  • Standardized methods and definitions for all NOMs for block grant and discretionary grant recipients

SAMHSA plans to continue to review the NOMs definitions and ensure that an appropriate balance is struck between the unique data collection needs of different programs/populations and the goals of streamlined and standardized data collection methods and definitions.

  • Complete definition of developmental NOMs for both mental health and substance abuse programs

SAMHSA will continue to use a consensus process to produce recommendations for these developmental NOMs.

  • Reporting on all NOMs by all States for both block grant programs

SAMHSA is using the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) to collect treatment NOMs for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to collect substance abuse prevention NOMs, and the Uniform Reporting System (URS) to collect NOMs for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant. SAMHSA plans to continue to help States develop the technical capacity to report all the NOMs for mental health services and substance abuse prevention and treatment.

  • Client-level data for mental health NOMs

SAMHSA plans to develop client-level NOMs to augment the information already obtained through the aggregate State data. Pilots will be conducted to test an appropriate methodology for this purpose, followed by full implementation of the measures of the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.

  • Fully implement NOMs reporting systems (CSAM, TRAC, and SAIS) for all discretionary grants

SAMHSA plans to implement standards and systems for collecting NOMs-based measures for its discretionary grant programs. SAMHSA also plans to work to develop data collection requirements that complement the NOMs for discretionary programs that do not provide client-level services (e.g., infrastructure and technical assistance programs) or for which NOMs are not well-suited (such as the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness [PAIMI]).

  • Share program performance data across SAMHSA and with its external partners, including providing regular feedback reports to grantees and States on their performance along with identifying areas of improvement and identifying high performers who can provide technical assistance or mentoring to those who need assistance in improvements

SAMHSA plans to work in consultation with the field to develop a process that balances OMB's expectations regarding the public availability of grantee data with grantee concerns about the misinterpretation (and potential misuse) of such data.

  • Generate standard and special performance management reports for significant and major programs

SAMHSA plans to generate these reports, which will include analyses of services to vulnerable populations including children, older adults, and cultural and linguistic minorities.

  • Agency standards and processes for management assessment and program evaluation

SAMHSA plans to develop standards and procedures to ensure future management assessment and program evaluations are rigorous enough to provide evidence of program effectiveness.

SAMHSA is confident that accomplishment of these activities will make a major contribution toward ensuring that all stakeholders are armed with the information needed to make decisions that are data-based and data-driven. This ultimately includes empowering people with or at risk for mental and substance abuse disorders with information needed to improve their care, build resilience, and facilitate recovery.

Go to SAMHSA’s performance management message for 2007 (2007 HTML overview or 2007 PDF overview).
Go to SAMHSA’s performance management message for 2006 (2006 HTML overview or 2006 PDF overview).
Go to SAMHSA’s performance management message for 2005 (2005 HTML overview or 2005 PDF overview).
Go to SAMHSA’s report on performance partnerships (HTML report or PDF report).
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