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Am J Manag Care. 2014 Apr 1;20(4):e113-21.

A team approach to systematic behavioral screening and intervention.

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1100 Delaplaine St, Madison, WI 53715. E-mail: rlbrown@



Unhealthy behaviors are responsible for most chronic disease, ample healthcare costs, and around 40% of deaths. This study assessed patient satisfaction and behavioral outcomes for a program that enables healthcare settings to deliver evidence-based, cost-saving behavioral screening and intervention (BSI) services, as recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force and others.


Pre-post program evaluation.


Thirty-one diverse primary care clinics and 2 other sites participated. Over 110,000 patients completed multibehavioral screening questionnaires. Those with positive alcohol or drug screens met with dedicated, on-site health educators for further assessment, and then received either reinforcement, brief intervention, or referral. Over 300 patients completed satisfaction questionnaires during year 3 of the program. A pseudo-randomly selected group of 675 patients participated in a 6-month follow-up telephone interview. In addition, for a short time in a pilot project at 3 clinics, 29 patients received depression screening, collaborative care, and behavioral activation, and 22 completed a 3-month follow-up telephone interview.


Mean patient satisfaction scores for all services exceeded 4.2 on a 5-point scale. Over 6 months, binge drinking episodes declined by over 20% for most subgroups. Recent marijuana use decreased by 15%. Depression symptom scores decreased by 55%.


With intensive training and ongoing support, cost-efficient paraprofessionals can deliver effective alcohol, drug, and depression screening and intervention services in busy healthcare settings. The approach holds promise for systematically addressing on a population-wide basis a variety of important behavioral health determinants and reducing related healthcare costs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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