Passport collaborates with other Safety Net Health Plans to help lower risk for Substance Use Disorders among youth

Passport Health Plan is one of seven Safety Net Health Plans from around the country that have committed to a joint three-year learning project that will help increase the identification of youth who are at risk for substance use disorders.

The project, led by the Center for Health Care Strategies in partnership with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), will make extensive use of the SBIRT model, which stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment.

SBIRT is an evidence-based approach for identifying patients who are at risk for abuse of alcohol and other drugs, and it is intended to identify not only patients who have substance use disorders but also those who are at high risk for developing such a disorder and reducing their level of risk.

The collaborative, made possible by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, consists of seven health plans, each of which will pilot an SBIRT training project aimed at raising the awareness of substance use disorders among youth, and fortify these providers’ abilities to screen, intervene, and refer to treatment as needed.

The project that Passport has developed for the effort involves expanding the number of adolescents screened annually for substance use disorder, since many teens begin experimenting with substances during adolescence. Passport will develop regional trainings for providers to teach them how to implement SBIRT, and will also develop webinars for providers to complete training in their home communities, complete with continuing education for providers who participate in the training. Passport will also work with our providers to break down any barriers to coordinating care for our members who endorse positive symptoms.

“Passport recognizes that substance use disorders are a huge public health crisis in the Commonwealth,” said Elizabeth W. McKune, Ed.D., Director of Behavioral Health for Passport Health Plan. “We are working closely with our providers and the Kentucky Department of Medicaid Services to increase the number of adolescents screened for potential problems with substances and teach them where they can go should they begin having problems with substances in the future.”

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Passport Helps Produce Report About Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse

ACAPA new report from the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP)  highlights innovative strategies employed by nonprofit Safety Net Health Plans – such as Passport Health Plan – to address the issue of prescription drug abuse; in particular, the misuse and abuse of prescription opioid painkillers. The report, titled Strategies to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse,”  was produced by the ACAP Substance Use Disorder Collaborative, of which Passport is a member, and focuses on ways to tackle the issue of prescription drug abuse.

According to ACAP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that opioids were responsible for more than 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, and more than 475,000 emergency department visits the following year. And the misuse and abuse of these powerful drugs also comes at high financial costs: the societal cost of opioid abuse is an estimated $53 to $72 billion per year.

A section of the report devoted to Passport, titled “Passport Health Plan – Offering Web-Based Tools for Primary Care Providers,” discusses the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program that Passport has implemented to fight prescription drug abuse. This program includes links to Web-based resources and training; tools to help primary care physicians (PCPs) talk with patients about potential substance use disorders; an incentive to physicians in which Passport reimburses PCPs for SBIRT on a fee-for-service (FFS) basis in the Louisville area, where PCP payments are capitated; and efforts to expand the network of treatment providers, among other things. To learn more about this program, go online to


Passport Makes SBIRT Available to Providers in Network

Providers in the Passport Health Plan network are able to utilize a new evidence-based public health initiative called “Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)”. This initiative, which went into effect January 1, 2015, identifies members who may be at risk of drug or alcohol use, abuse, or dependence. Annual SBIRT screenings are required for all Passport members. For more information about SBIRT, including what screening tool options are available and how providers can become trained in its use, please go to