Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a screening and referral method that has proven to be effective in identifying and providing early intervention for individuals at risk for developing substance use disorders. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of effectiveness data, how SBIRT screening increases payment, and provide training resources, including free CME through MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society.
How Effective Is SBIRT?
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found SBIRT effectively reduced heavy drinking episodes in adults and resulted in:
- reduced weekly alcohol consumption
- 12% fewer adults reported heavy drinking episodes, and
- 11% of adults reported drinking less than the recommended limits over a 12 month period.
To access USPSTF’s clinical summary and archived recommendations, click here.
A 2009 article in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence found a 68% reduction in illicit drug use over a six-month period among individuals who had received SBIRT services. For more data on effectiveness, please refer to the Maryland Department of Behavioral Health’s research listing on SBIRT.
Payment for SBIRT Services
Medicaid, Medicare, and most commercial insurance plans cover SBIRT services. Maryland’s SBIRT Project helps practices to set up procedures for billing. They provide a fee schedule for all payors on their website. To request support for your practice, contact Bonnie Campbell, Maryland SBIRT Project Director, at email@example.com or 410-637-1900 ext. 7790.
MedChi offers free, online training modules for implementing SBIRT in patient care. These training modules were designed to help clinicians have productive conversations in the context of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). The presenter is Marianne Cloeren, M.D., M.P.H., an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and board certified internist. Her research focus is on doctor/patient communication and chronic pain related disability and managing opioids. Access the CME.
The following clinical tools and consumer education materials were compiled by Maryland SBIRT. Maryland SBIRT is the best source to access SBIRT related resources, services, and other information.
- Screening Tools
- Brief Intervention Scripts
- Referral to Treatment Checklist
- Pocket Guide for Physicians and Other Health Care Professionals (2017)
- Low-Risk Drinking Limits
- What is a “Standard” Drink?
- Readiness Ruler – measuring a patient’s readiness to change
Consumer Education Materials
- Honesty for Health – Maryland SBIRT Project Public Education Flyer 2017
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)