Program-and service-level costs of seven screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment programs

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Arnie Aldridge, Adjunct Faculty (Creator)
Jeremy W. Bray, Professor and Department Head (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This paper examines the costs of delivering screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) services within the first seven demonstration programs funded by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Service-level costs were estimated and compared across implementation model (contracted specialist, inhouse specialist, inhouse generalist) and service delivery setting (emergency department, hospital inpatient, outpatient). Program-level costs were estimated and compared across grantee recipient programs. Service-level data were collected through timed observations of SBIRT service delivery. Program-level data were collected during key informant interviews using structured cost interview guides. At the service level, support activities that occur before or after engaging the patient comprise a considerable portion of the cost of delivering SBIRT services, especially short duration services. At the program level, average costs decreased as more patients were screened. Comparing across program and service levels, the average annual operating costs calculated at the program level often exceeded the cost of actual service delivery. Provider time spent in support of service provision may comprise a large share of the costs in some cases because of potentially substantial fixed and quasifixed costs associated with program operation. The cost structure of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment is complex and discontinuous of patient flow, causing annual operating costs to exceed the costs of actual service provision for some settings and implementation models.

Additional Information

Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation
Language: English
Date: 2014
screening, brief intervention, brief treatment, SBIRT, cost

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