Process improvement for behavioral health

Reward Clients for “In-Reach”


Knowing who to market services to and reaching prospective clients who would benefit from opioid treatment is a challenge.


Have existing clients refer new clients.

Featured Stories

St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in Brooklyn, NY increased admissions to their Opioid Treatment Program from 52 admissions/6 months to 64 admissions/6 months. They rewarded existing clients with $5 gift certificates at places like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King when they referred new clients who continued in treatment for more than 30 days. They communicated this reward system to clients during groups and posted signs that said, “Refer Someone… and Lunch is on Us.” Revenue increased as a result.

Lessons Learned

  • Clients are in a very good position to “market” your program to prospective clients using word of mouth.
  • Rewarding people who refer clients provides a good incentive.
  • “In-reach” helps teach people in recovery to act as adults with good judgment when they connect with their previous community in a more positive way.

Tracking Measures

Cycle Measure

Percentage of referred clients who were admitted

Data Collection Form

Referred Clients Admitted Tracking Form (Starting Clients)



  • 1. Announce the referral plan to current clients.
  • 2. Collect baseline data for the number of referrals made by clients who were admitted.


  • 1. Track referrals for a two-week period.


  • 1. Check the fidelity of the change. Was the change implemented as planned?
  • 2. Evaluate the change.
    • Did clients make referrals?
    • What was the clients’ reaction to making referrals?
    • Did clients like the reward you offered?


  • 1. Adjust the referral and reward program based on clients’ feedback.

Repeat this series of steps until you have refined the process for getting clients to make referrals. Expand this practice to alumni or other possible referrers.

Related Tools