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WMJ. 2010 Feb;109(1):9-14.

A cost-benefit analysis of Wisconsin's screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment program: adding the employer's perspective.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.



A previous cost-benefit analysis found Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) to be cost-beneficial from a societal perspective. This paper develops a cost-benefit model that includes the employer's perspective by considering the costs of absenteeism and impaired presenteeism due to problem drinking.


We developed a Monte Carlo simulation model to estimate the costs and benefits of SBIRT implementation to an employer. We first presented the likely costs of problem drinking to a theoretical Wisconsin firm that does not currently provide SBIRT services. We then constructed a cost-benefit model in which the firm funds SBIRT for its employees. The net present value of SBIRT adoption was computed by comparing costs due to problem drinking both with and without the program.


When absenteeism and impaired presenteeism costs were considered from the employer's perspective, the net present value of SBIRT adoption was $771 per employee.


We concluded that implementing SBIRT is cost-beneficial from the employer's perspective and recommend that Wisconsin employers consider covering SBIRT services for their employees.

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