USE CASE: Assessing Outcomes and Cost Savings of Substance Abuse Treatment

The providers at SBIRT Colorado are using evaluation, experience and lessons learned to establish Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for substance use, often referred to as SBIRT, as a standard of care in health care settings. They support the integration of behavioral health into health care through a collaborative effort of the Office of Behavioral Health, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to standardize substance use screening as a health care practice.

Project Summary: An important goal of the SBIRT program was reducing health care costs by implementing changes in how care is delivered and working with patients to change patterns of substance abuse behavior. Researchers were able to identify the provider practices that have implemented SBIRT and hoped to use CO APCD data to assess patient outcomes and determine whether any cost savings were realized.

Benefit to Colorado: Integration of SBIRT into Colorado practices could benefit Coloradans by providing much needed substance abuse treatment, thus improving outcomes and lowering costs.