The federal government has ended a national registry designed to provide information to the public about evidence-based mental health and substance use interventions and programs.
The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), which is funded and administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has existed since 1997 to help people, agencies and organizations identify and implement evidence-based behavioral health programs and practices in their communities, according to the website.
But the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the department under HHS that manages the program, wrote on its website that the contract for the database had been discontinued.
SAMHSA is still "very focused on the development and implementation of evidence-based programs in communities across the nation," the notice says.
SAMHSA's in-house "policy lab" will "lead the effort to reconfigure its approach to identifying and disseminating evidence-based practice and programs."
Because the contract has ended, the database will no longer be updated.
Elinore McCance-Katz, SAMHSA's assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, said Thursday NREPP virtually ignored serious mental illnesses and drug abuse disorders, and that its standards for including programs in the registry were poor.
"I believe at SAMHSA we should not be encouraging providers to use NREPP to obtain evidence-based practices given the flawed nature of the system," McCance-Katz told reporters in a press call Thursday.
She said her agency is still focused on the development and implementation of evidence-based programs and the policy lab is working to identify a new approach, which will involve working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies that can "comment on what constitutes evidence-based practices."
"We are now moving to implementation efforts through targeted technical assistance and training that makes use of local and national experts and that assist programs with actually implementing services that will be essential to getting Americans living with these disorders the care and treatment and recovery services that they need," she said.
Updated at 4:43 p.m., Jan. 11.