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Published on June 10, 2015

Training Helps Providers to Motivate Patients

St. Cloud, Minn. – CentraCare Health physicians and patient care coordinators have enhanced their skills in screening and intervening with patients who misuse alcohol and/or drugs, thanks to a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Human Services Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division.

Only one in seven Minnesota adults discusses alcohol or illicit drug consumption with a health care professional, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Integrating addiction services into mainstream health care is the only way to tackle the misuse and abuse of substances in the U.S. and the physical and mental health problems that are intertwined with it, according to the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions (IRETA).

The goal of the grant to CentraCare Health was to train primary care physicians and patient care coordinators on the benefits of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). Through motivational interviewing, health care providers often can improve the overall health of patients related to their alcohol use and misuse of prescription drugs. Other healthy lifestyle factors assessed include: physical activity, nutrition, tobacco and cigarette usage, positive thinking and sleep hygiene.

CentraCare Health’s SBIRT project staff hosted five, two-day training seminars on motivational interviewing and the SBIRT model of care. These seminars were attended by 200 physicians, nurses and other care providers from throughout the state.

The project conducted screenings on more than 2,000 CentraCare patients during the one-year grant period and provided support and counseling to those in need.  Follow-up reporting from patients who participated in the screening showed they were binge drinking on average 3.5 times less per month after completing the counseling.

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