Coming Soon! Tools to Address Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care

August 17, 2020 · Alcohol Learning Collaborative

Did you know unhealthy alcohol use is a leading cause of death in the United States?

Unhealthy alcohol use accounts for over 90,000 deaths and costs $249 billion a year in health care and lost productivity. Despite these detrimental effects and large-scale impact, most adults report they are rarely asked about unhealthy alcohol use by their primary care health providers.

Believe it or not, most adults who drink unhealthy levels of alcohol are not dependent on alcohol. However, their health is still at risk. So, how can we address this?

In 2017 with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), NCQA adapted the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement’s physician-level measure of screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol use for HEDIS reporting by health plans. This measure is called Screening and Follow-Up for Unhealthy Alcohol Use. After the adapted measure’s inclusion in HEDIS, and with additional funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and SAMHSA, NCQA embarked on a three-year learning collaborative to identify strategies to improve care for unhealthy alcohol use and increase HEDIS reporting of the measure.


We are very excited to announce the upcoming release of Screening and Follow-Up for Unhealthy Alcohol Use: Quality Improvement Change Package for Health Plans. It is designed to help health plans address unhealthy alcohol use among their members and improve reporting of the HEDIS alcohol measure using electronic clinical data. This Change Package is rich with tools, ideas and successful strategies from learning collaborative participants for health plans and providers in their network looking to implement screening, brief intervention and quality reporting for unhealthy alcohol use.

The Change Package will be available this September, so stay tuned!

Get more information at the Collaborative’s Web page.

If you have questions about the Collaborative, contact our team at


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