FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jeff Van Ness, (202) 204-7515


WASHINGTON—A new collaborative effort of seven Safety Net Health Plans—all of which are members of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP)—will embark upon a three-year learning project to increase the identification of youth who are at risk for substance use disorder. The project, designed and coordinated by the Center for Health Care Strategies in partnership with ACAP, and funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, will make extensive use of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, known as SBIRT.

SBIRT is an evidence-based approach to identifying patients who are at risk for abuse of alcohol and other drugs that is intended to not only identify patients who have substance use disorder, but also those who are at high risk for developing such a disorder and reducing their level of risk. The collaborative consists of seven health plans, each of which will pilot an SBIRT training project aimed at raising the awareness of substance use disorder among youth, and fortify these providers’ abilities to screen, intervene, and refer to treatment as needed. As the health plans develop their pilot projects, they will regularly share their progress with fellow collaborative participants to speed development of effective SBIRT programs.

“SBIRT is aimed at identifying people who are at risk and catching them before they develop a dependency—and making treatment referrals for people who need it,” said ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray. “Many primary care providers are overwhelmed with demands on their time and may be unaware of some of the tools that SBIRT provides, especially those that can help head off substance use issues at the pass. The tools available here can make a lasting, positive difference in the lives of adolescents and young adults.”

Participating Safety Net Health Plans include:

  • Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, Boston
  • Passport Health Plan, Louisville, Ky.
  • Prestige Health Choice, Miami
  • Texas Children’s Health Plan, Houston
  • UPMC for You, Pittsburgh
  • Virginia Premier Health Plan, Richmond, Va.
  • YourCare Health Plan, Rochester, N.Y.

Upon completion of its work, the Collaborative will develop a toolkit for public use that will examine best practices and challenges in establishing effective SBIRT programs aimed at youth. For more information, visit

About ACAP
ACAP represents 57 nonprofit Safety Net Health Plans in 26 states, which collectively serve more than seventeen million people enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, Marketplaces, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other health programs. For more information, visit

About the Center for Health Care Strategies
The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is a nonprofit policy center dedicated to improving the health of low-income Americans, especially for individuals with complex, high-cost needs. CHCS works with state and federal agencies, health plans, providers, and consumer groups to advance innovative and cost-effective models for organizing, financing, and delivering health care services. For more information, visit

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