Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders, as well as those who are at risk of developing these disorders. Primary care centers, hospital emergency rooms, trauma centers, and other community settings provide opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users before more severe consequences occur.

  • Screening quickly assesses the severity of substance use and identifies the appropriate level of treatment.
  • Brief intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and motivation toward behavioral change.
  • Referral to treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to specialty care.

Wisconsin SBIRT training

To become eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursement for SBIRT services, licensed providers are required to complete a training program. For more information on provider type and allowable settings for delivering SBIRT services in Wisconsin, see ForwardHealth Update 2009-96(PDF)  

Training modules

There are three parts to this training. Each part includes one or more modules. At the conclusion of most modules, you will take a brief quiz to test your knowledge. For incorrect responses, you will be directed back to the relevant training content, then you will re-take the quiz. At the conclusion of the training program, you will take a comprehensive exam. To successfully complete the training and receive the certificate of completion, you must complete the exam with a passing score. The certificate of completion will be available for you to print with successful completion of the final exam.

The training modules are presented using Abode Connect

Part 1: Introduction to SBIRT (60 minutes)


  • What is SBIRT?
  • Continuum of substance involvement
  • Etiology for substance use disorders
  • Reasons to implement SBIRT

Introduction (20 minutes)

Etiology for substance use disorders (20 minutes)

Reasons to implement SBIRT (20 minutes)

Part 2: Clinical skills (150 minutes)


  • Develop initial familiarity and comfort with the SBIRT communication style
  • Identify common screening methods and assessment techniques
  • Understand the key elements of a brief intervention and referral for treatment
  • Develop initial familiarity and comfort with providing brief interventions
  • Practice critical SBIRT communication techniques

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)

This section contains tools and resources for the implementation of SBIRT.

Implementation toolkit (30 minutes)

Implementation toolkit

SBIRT information

Wisconsin resources

National resources

Last Revised: October 12, 2020