The Level of Care Utilization System (LOCUS) was created by the American Association of Community Psychiatrists to provide Mental Health and co-occurring Substance Abuse Providers with a standardized tool to ensure scarce healthcare resources are consistently utilized in the most effective and efficient manner possible. The LOCUS tool helps clinicians make consistent and effective patient decisions related to intensity of service needs, level of care placement, and continued stay. It also provides a framework for evaluating clinical outcomes and impact of treatment.  LOCUS was developed with the intent to improve consistency in the management and utilization of scarce health care resources at all levels of care.  Key benefits of the LOCUS tool are that it does not require a diagnosis prior to use, it is adaptable to a changing continuum, and has proven reliable across multiple locations, programs and levels of care.

Both initial and routine follow-up training on how to implement the LOCUS tool is essential to ensure inter-rater reliability and quality of care. While the LOCUS design format is simple, clinicians will encounter scenarios where implementation of the tool can be ambiguous. Advance training familiarizes the user with the underlying reasoning for the instrument’s structure and design.  Clinicians can then process those ambiguities within the parameters of the scoring system in a consistent manner to ensure highly reliable results.

The LOCUS tool identifies six levels of care based on six dimensions.  This course will review each level of care and dimension in detail.  Key characteristics of each parameter will be discussed. Helpful suggestions will be presented for a range of scenarios. Participants will gain an understanding of how to properly score each dimension. The course provides multiple opportunities for clinicians to practice applying knowledge gained with using the LOCUS tool to clinical examples to resolve any uncertainties before using the LOCUS tool in an actual clinical transaction.