Practice Involvement & Benefits

The Role of Primary Care

  • Routine screening of all adult patients, using validated questions, can identify 2 categories of unhealthy alcohol use
    • Risky drinking (without an alcohol use disorder)
    • Alcohol use disorder (AUD)
  • Brief counseling in primary care can help patients reduce risky alcohol consumption
  • For those with AUD, screening and identification provides an opportunity for counseling and referral to treatment
  • Medications (e.g. naltrexone, acamprosate) are also evidence-based options that can help those with AUD

Helping Your Practice Implement These Services

  • Developing a systematic approach to screening and management, including electronic health record (EHR) optimization
  • Providing organized summaries by region and county of available resources for people with unhealthy alcohol use
  • Training sessions (virtual, as needed) for workflows, counseling skills and principles, and prescribing
  • Helping with billing codes to allow reimbursement for provision of screening and counseling
  • Paying money for completing surveys and collecting data

What We Are Asking of the Practices

  • Work with practice facilitators to implement an evidence-based screening process
  • Work with practice facilitators to implement a process for counseling or referring patients with unhealthy alcohol use
  • Learn how and when to prescribe medications for AUD
  • Respond to surveys about the process
  • Collect data describing the implementation, such as
    • Number and percent of patients screened
    • Number and percent of patients with positive screens
    • Number and percent of patients who received brief counseling
    • Number and percent of patients prescribed medications for AUD
    • Number and percent of patients referred for treatment

Quick Links


Alcohol Use Disorders
Identification Test

In the News

Unhealthy alcohol use in
the popular press and
journal articles

Billing & Reimbursement

Approved billing codes and
quality measures

Time & Workflow

What your practice can
expect when implementing
these services

Electronic Health Records

Using Epic tools in screening
and assessment

Estimate for 1st year of screening by 1 provider in North Carolina: of 2,000 adult patients screened, 1,000 (50%) drink any alcohol. Of these, 100-200 (10-20%) will have unhealthy alcohol use, giving an average of 2-4 patients per week for brief counseling (few of these will need more intensive intervention for AUD)