New Screening Practice Aims to Better Serve Clients with Co-Occuring Disorders


As Telecare is organizationally working to deliver more integrated care and Substance Use Disorder Services (SUDS) into its programs, we are excited to introduce one of our newest trainings being delivered to our program staff across our service lines, MI-SBIRT.

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Through this practice, Motivational Interviewing (MI) is paired with Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). SBIRT is an Evidence-Based Practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent abuse and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs.

Telecare’s Director of Clinical Services, Deanna Beeson, says MI-SBIRT fills a much-needed gap in providing Whole Person Care. Approximately 70% of the people we serve in Telecare programs deal with substance use.

Reaching the “Unreachable”

Historically, members were often uncomfortable talking about their experience with substance use in conversations with mental health professionals. In addition to our work using Co-Occurring Education Groups (COEG) to help engage people in their recovery, MI-SBIRT aims to train staff in ways to open up the dialogue and build a deeper level of trust between staff and the people we serve.

The delivery of SBIRT uses motivational interviewing as the core foundation and is brief, yet effective. Staff use thoughtfully designed scripts to hold conversations that focus on curiosity, not judgment or shame. It allows the person, when they’re ready, to talk about their substance use. The goal within the structured piece of the SBIRT conversation is to increase the member’s motivation to make a change in their substance use moving forward.

Staff throughout Telecare programs are currently being trained in administering MI-SBIRT through in-person trainings conducted by Deanna and Telecare's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kent Eller. Staff are equipped with a binder filled with relevant example scenarios, historical context, and thoughtfully designed conversation motivators. After being screened through Telecare's MI-SBIRT tool, members can choose to be referred to treatment. 

“Recovery is more than just managing mental illness,” Deanna said. “It's recovering your life. Substance use becomes an obstacle to really recovering things that are lost in your life. We can't ignore it, because often that's the thing that derails it.”

We are excited to continue to build on our SUDS services in 2019 and rollout this MI-SBIRT training to all Telecare programs at the start of the new year.

“This has the power to change lives,” Deanna concluded.

More Information

Telecare’s Substance Use Disorder (SUDS) Brochures & Information

Telecare Whole Person Care
Brochures & Information