June 26, 2019 Network in the Know

Finding the Best Resources for Patients Who Misuse Alcohol or Drugs

Due to the increased prevalence of substance abuse and misuse, CDPHP is taking steps to work with you to initiate and engage members in care. Many people who misuse alcohol and other drugs disclose their substance use concerns to their health care providers. If you determine your patient needs help, please make a referral to a local substance abuse program. (You can use CDPHP® Find-A-Doc to find in-network programs in your area.) In the Capital Region, Conifer Park, SPARC, and Senior Hope are among the treatment facilities most often selected for referral.

The following recommendations may be helpful to you in managing such patients:

  • Use the CAGE-AID (CAGE Adapted to Include Drugs) to screen for drug use in your patients.
  • Use the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) to screen for alcohol issues, or use the first three quantity/frequency questions from AUDIT, supplemented by the CAGE questionnaire.
  • Do not rely on patients to follow through on their own. When you determine that abuse of alcohol or another drug has had a negative impact on your patient’s health, proactively arrange a follow-up visit.
  • Ask the patient to complete an Authorization to Release Health Information or Exchange of Information form and file it with CDPHP. These forms allow us to communicate with you regarding a member’s substance abuse care, and allows the member’s treatment team to communicate with one another.
  • Confirm that you are using the appropriate diagnosis and billing codes. It is important to document the pattern of use for alcohol and other drugs. The hierarchy is use, abuse, and dependence.
Adele O'Connell
About the Author

Adele joined CDPHP in 2004 as an internal communications and event specialist. She then spent eight years coordinating the company’s community relations and corporate events program, in which capacity she worked with a host of non-profit organizations and co-chaired the CDPHP annual Charity of Choice campaign. Currently, she is a communications specialist and coordinator of corporate member engagement and serves on the boards of two local charities. Prior to CDPHP, Adele served as a legislative assistant for a trade association and as an acquisitions and developmental editor, specializing in educational and medical publishing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Rosemont College.

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