SBIRT: Referral to Treatment & Follow-up Care

The learner will improve care management and referral skills for treatment of substance use disorders. The learner will improve follow-up and reassessment skills for primary care patients who have received a brief intervention for substance-related issues as well as patients who have been referred for specialty treatment of substance use disorders.

: 1 hr

After completing this activity participants will be able to:

  • Follow-up with patients who have received brief interventions for substance use problems

  • Determine the need to refer a patient for treatment of a substance use disorder

  • Select the proper type of treatment for patients with substance use disorders

  • Prepare the patient for a referral for substance use disorder through education, motivation, and follow-up

  • Collaborate effectively with the specialist to ensure ongoing patient care after referral for substance use disorder

Professional Practice Gaps

Fewer than one-third of primary care physicians make a referral after identifying a substance abuse problem (CASA, 2000). A majority of specialists and primary care providers in a survey or 4720 physicians perceived communications from the other professional group to be inadequate (O'Malley & Reschovsky, 2011). Additionally, primary care providers need to understand the different types of specialty treatment so that they can make appropriate referrals for their substance abuse patients (SAMHSA, 2008).

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). TIP 24: A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians. Rockville, MD. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. 1997. Available at: Accessed on: 2010-06-15.
O'Malley AS, Reschovsky JD. Referral and consultation communication between primary care and specialist physicians: finding common ground.. Arch Intern Med. 2011; 171(1): 56-65. Available at: Accessed on: 2013-10-24.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). Missed Opportunity: National Survey of Primary Care Physicians and Patients on Substance Abuse. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, Survey Research Laboratory. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois at Chicago. 2000. Available at: Accessed on: 2010-06-15.