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Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

An Evidence-based, Effective Method to Treat Alcohol and Drug Misuse

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) grades preventive care services for patients and gave a “B” to SBIRT. The task force's study of SBIRT suggests that screening and brief counseling interventions effectively reduce heavy drinking episodes in adults, resulting in the following:

  • Reduced alcohol consumption by 3.6 drinks per week
  • 12 percent fewer adults reported heavy drinking episodes
  • 11 percent more adults reported drinking less than the recommended limits over a 12-month period
SBIRT is endorsed by the National Council for Community Behavioral Health Care, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Billing and Payment

The Oregon Health Authority is standardizing SBIRT billing and payment policies for all payer sources. We must take care to ensure compliance in service delivery and billing for different payers (e.g., Medicare and commercial insurance).

SBIRT coding and billing policies are a work in progress. They vary based on payer. SBIRT is a covered benefit for all Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) patients through a wide range of provider types. Under current policies and regulations, Oregon providers may be eligible for SBIRT reimbursement for most of their patients.

Billing Codes for SBIRT
Billing SBIRT Encounters in Medical Settings - Adults
Billing SBIRT Encounters in Medical Settings - Children/Adolescents
Function of Brief Annual Screening for SBIRT
Qualifications for SBIRT Services

SBIRT in Oregon

​Screening for substance use issues is required for recognition by Oregon’s Patient-Centered Primary Care Home Program​. To become recognized as a primary care home, clinics must routinely assess mental health, substance use, or developmental conditions and provide treatment, referral, and care coordination. SBIRT is a vital tool for substance use screening, and the Patient-Centered Primary Care Institute​ can help clinics adopt the SBIRT model.​

SBIRT is also part of Oregon's incentive measures for Oregon’s coordinated care organizations (CCOs). The first statewide CCO Learning Collaborative with CCO Medical Directors focused on SBIRT and the other CCO incentive measures.

A collaborative creates opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and networking, sharing information on evidence-based best practices and emerging best practices, and helping advance innovative strategies in all areas of health care transformation.​

OHA's Public Health Division​ is developing training to increase th​e use of SBIRT for adolescent well care visits.​

In addition, SBIRT is one of the incentive measures for Oregon's hospitals. As part of this program hospitals are working to implement SBIRT in emergency departments throughout the state. Technical assistance on this measure is being provided by OHA and the Oregon Association of Hospital and Health Systems. Additional resources on implementing SBIRT in the ED include:

​Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has received their second SAMHSA grant for implementing SBIRT throughout Oregon. This new grant, called the SBIRT Oregon Training Initiative, will focus​ on training medical residents, social work and counseling student interns, and other behavioral health learners to facilitate SBIRT in both primary care and other healthcare settings.​