Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a public health approach to getting early intervention and treatment services to people with substance use disorders. It also helps those at risk of having these disorders. 

Primary care centers, emergency rooms, and other treatment settings use SBIRT with at-risk substance users. The goal is to step in before something severe happens. SBIRT includes:

  • Screening—Quickly looks at how severe the substance use is. Finds the most fitting level of treatment.
  • Brief intervention—Works on increasing insight and awareness of substance use. Motivates the person to change behaviors. 
  • Referral to treatment—Provides those who need more treatment with access to specialty care.

Learn more about which provider types and settings can give SBIRT services in Wisconsin. View ForwardHealth Update 2009-96 (PDF)

Complete the Wisconsin SBIRT training program

The SBIRT training program is designed to inspire and prepare providers to give evidence-based SBIRT services. Completing the training lets providers bill Wisconsin Medicaid for clinical SBIRT services they provide. 

The SBIRT training has three parts. Each part has short video modules that show clinical techniques and best practices for giving SBIRT services. The training also includes sources for more learning if needed. 

After most modules, you’ll take a quiz. Based on your results, you can look at information you may have missed. After the last module, you’ll take a test. You must pass the test to earn a certificate. The certificate qualifies you for Wisconsin Medicaid reimbursement. You’ll also get a survey to give feedback on the training. 

Expand each section and select the links to complete the training. 

Part 1—Introduction to SBIRT (60 minutes)

In Part 1, you’ll learn:

  • What is SBIRT?
  • Continuum of substance involvement
  • Cause (etiology) for substance use disorders
  • Reasons to use SBIRT

Part 1 is split into three sections. Select a link to watch the video and take the quiz. 

Introduction (20 minutes)

Etiology for substance use disorders (20 minutes)

Reasons to implement SBIRT (20 minutes)

Part 2—Clinical skills (150 minutes)

In Part 2, you’ll learn clinical skills to give SBIRT services:

  • Become familiar with the SBIRT communication style
  • Find common screening methods and assessment techniques
  • Know the key elements of brief intervention and referral for treatment
  • Learn how to give brief interventions 
  • Practice critical SBIRT communication techniques

Part 2 is split into five sections and a test. Select a link to access the training.

The SBIRT approach (30 minutes)

SBIRT communication style in practice (10 minutes)

Screening (20 minutes)

Brief intervention and referral to treatment (20 minutes)

Practice: brief intervention (30 minutes)

Test (30 minutes)

Part 3—Implementation: resources and recommendations (30 minutes)

Related resources

Last Revised: August 12, 2022