Comparing organization-focused and state-focused financing strategies on provider-level reach of a youth substance use treatment model: a mixed-method study

Alex R. Dopp, Sarah B. Hunter, Mark D. Godley, Isabelle González, Michelle Bongard, Bing Han, Jonathan Cantor, Grace Hindmarch, Kerry Lindquist, Blanche Wright, Danielle Schlang, Lora L. Passetti, Kelli L. Wright, Beau Kilmer, Gregory A. Aarons, Jonathan Purtle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Financial barriers in substance use disorder service systems have limited the widespread adoption—i.e., provider-level reach—of evidence-based practices (EBPs) for youth substance use disorders. Reach is essential to maximizing the population-level impact of EBPs. One promising, but rarely studied, type of implementation strategy for overcoming barriers to EBP reach is financing strategies, which direct financial resources in various ways to support implementation. We evaluated financing strategies for the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) EBP by comparing two US federal grant mechanisms, organization-focused and state-focused grants, on organization-level A-CRA reach outcomes. Method: A-CRA implementation took place through organization-focused and state-focused grantee cohorts from 2006 to 2021. We used a quasi-experimental, mixed-method design to compare reach between treatment organizations funded by organization-focused versus state-focused grants (164 organizations, 35 states). Using administrative training records, we calculated reach as the per-organization proportion of trained individuals who received certification in A-CRA clinical delivery and/or supervision by the end of grant funding. We tested differences in certification rate by grant type using multivariable linear regression models that controlled for key covariates (e.g., time), and tested threats to internal validity from our quasi-experimental design through a series of sensitivity analyses. We also drew on interviews and surveys collected from the treatment organizations and (when relevant) interviews with state administrators to identify factors that influenced reach. Results: The overall certification rates were 27 percentage points lower in state-focused versus organization-focused grants (p =.01). Sensitivity analyses suggested these findings were not explained by confounding temporal trends nor by organizational or state characteristics. We did not identify significant quantitative moderators of reach outcomes, but qualitative findings suggested certain facilitating factors were more influential for organization-focused grants (e.g., strategic planning) and certain barrier factors were more impactful for state-focused grants (e.g., states finding it difficult to execute grant activities). Discussion: As the first published comparison of EBP reach outcomes between financing strategies, our findings can help guide state and federal policy related to financing strategies for implementing EBPs that reduce youth substance use. Future work should explore contextual conditions under which different financing strategies can support the widespread implementation of EBPs for substance use disorder treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • A-CRA
  • Behavioral health service systems
  • Evidence-based practices
  • Financing strategies
  • Implementation
  • Policy
  • Public finance
  • Reach
  • Substance use disorder treatment
  • Youth substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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