The U.S. government is not the only organization embracing substance abuse
screening and brief intervention (SBI) services (see Federal Workers Get
Coverage for Substance Abuse Screening): 58 percent of 150 U.S. private
insurers are paying for it now or will be soon, according to the results of
the eValue8 annual survey of the country's health plans conducted in December
2008 by the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH).
Major health insurers that pay for SBI under certain coverage plans include
Aetna (nationwide), CIGNA (nationwide), Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
(Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New
Hampshire, Virginia, and Wisconsin), Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross-Blue
Shield in Georgia, Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Minnesota, Empire Blue Cross-Blue
Shield in New York, and Independence Blue Cross HealthPlus (Michigan).
"Most Americans who engage in risky and problem substance use never
receive services that could help them avoid serious health and family
problems, including addiction," said Richard Brown, M.D., a family
physician and leader of an effort to implement SBI throughout Wisconsin, in a
"SBI prevents more disease and injury than most routine preventive
services, such as screening for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and
various cancers," Brown said. "Bringing SBI into the mainstream of
health care will produce significant economic savings and, most importantly,
improve the lives of millions of Americans."
According to the NBCH, eValue8 "uses a standard annual
request-for-information survey to gather hundreds of benchmarks in critical
areas such as adoption of health information technology, member and provider
communications, disease management, program administration, provider
performance, patient safety, pharmacy management, behavioral health, and
financial stability." The data help major employers, among others,
assess and manage the quality of their health care vendors.
George Washington University Medical Center's Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol
Problems program, an initiative sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, works
with the NBCH to develop survey questions and analyze the data collected
through eValue8. ▪