www.sbirt.cumc.columbia.edu / Resources




Referral to Treatment


For patients identified as needing more extensive treatment than what can be offered through an SBIRT program, referral to a specialized treatment provider may be necessary. Referral to treatment is an integral component of the SBIRT process and necessitates strong collaboration between the SBIRT team and substance abuse treatment providers in the community. Some useful links to treatment resources are provided below.


Treatment may include—

Substance abuse treatment is provided within levels of care often available in multiple treatment settings. Level of care is determined by severity of illness: Is the patient a dependent or nondependent substance abuser, and are there medical or psychiatric comorbidities? Inpatient treatment is reserved for those with more serious illness (dependence, comorbidity).


When your patient is ready—

What is a warm-handoff referral?

The "warm-handoff referral” is the action by which the clinician directly introduces the patient to the treatment provider at the time of the patient’s medical visit. The reasons behind the warm-handoff referral are to establish an initial direct contact between the patient and the treatment counselor and to confer the trust and rapport. Evidence strongly indicates that warm handoffs are dramatically more successful than passive referrals.


Common Mistakes to Avoid