California Substance Use Disorder Policy Resources

Assessment and Placement

Under the DMC-ODS waiver, patients will be placed into the most appropriate level of care using the Addiction Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Criteria.

A primary goal underlying the ASAM Criteria is for the patient to be placed in the most appropriate level of care. For both clinical and financial reasons, the preferable level of care is that which is the least intensive while still meeting treatment objectives and providing safety and security for the patient. The ASAM Criteria is a single, common standard for assessing patient needs, optimizing placement, determining medical necessity, and documenting the appropriateness of reimbursement. ASAM Criteria uses six unique dimensions, which represent different life areas that together impact any and all assessment, service planning, and level of care placement decisions. The ASAM Criteria structures multidimensional assessment around six dimensions to provide a common language of holistic, biopsychosocial assessment and treatment across addiction treatment, physical health and mental health services.

Source: Waiver Standard Terms and Conditions

With support from the Department of Health Care Services, UCLA is working with stakeholders to develop a fast, free validated screening tool to initially determine the most appropriate treatment setting(s) and other indicated services for the patient. During the intake session at the treatment provider, patients can then be given a multi-dimensional assessment based on the ASAM Criteria to confirm that the placement is appropriate, or if needed, to refer the patient to a more appropriate provider in the system of care.

Counties and providers throughout the state have also been developing tools, either for initial placement or for a more comprehensive assessment of patients’ treatment needs. These tools have been developed with either adults/general population or youth specifically in mind, and are at various stages of testing and fine-tuning.

To learn more or to have your draft tool included in the repository, contact Cheryl Teruya (

Working Drafts of Initial Placement Screening Tools Submitted by Counties for Collaboration Purposes (as of November 2016)

  • UCLA-Developed Screening Tool – COMING SOON
  • UCLA-Developed Screening Tool with 6 Dimensions – COMING SOON
  • Alameda County Call Center Screening Tool (download)
  • Riverside County Initial Adult Triage Assessment (download)
  • Riverside County Initial Adolescent Screening Tool (download)
  • Fresno County REACH Team Quick Screen (download)
  • Fresno County Adolescent ASAM Quick Screen (download)
  • Fresno County Drug Court ASAM Quick Screen (download)
  • Contra Costa County Health Services ASAM Criteria Placement Assessment (download)
  • San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Adult Initial Placement Screen (download)

Working Drafts of ASAM Criteria Based Assessment Tools Submitted by Counties for Collaboration Purposes (as of November 2016)

  • Los Angeles County Substance Abuse Prevention and Control Full ASAM Assessment - Adult (download)

Implementation Domains

Assessment & Placement

Hypothesis: Access to treatment will increase in counties that opt in to the waiver compared to access in the same counties prior to waiver implementation and access in comparison counties that have not opted in.

Service Delivery

Hypothesis: Quality of care will improve in counties that have opted in to the waiver compared to quality in the same counties prior to waiver implementation, and quality in comparison counties that have not opted in.

Quality Improvement

Hypothesis: There will be improved SUD treatment coordination for beneficiaries both within the SUD continuum of services as well as with primary care, mental health, and recovery support services.