Alcohol Misuse Screening and Counseling (AMSC) Resources

About AMSC

Alcohol Misuse Screening and Counseling (AMSC) (formerly Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment-SBIRT) is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with alcohol use disorders, as well as those who are at risk of developing these disorders. The AMSC can be used by providers in a primary care setting to help identify members who are at risk of hazardous alcohol use. Since January 1, 2014, managed care plans are required to cover and pay for an expanded screening for members 18 years of age or older who answer “yes” to the alcohol question on the Individual Health Education Behavioral Assessment (IHEBA).

When a member answers “yes” to the IHEBA screening, providers are required to offer the member an expanded, validated alcohol screening questionnaire. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) requires the use of one of the following: Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT); Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C); or a single-question screening, such as asking, “How many times in the past year have you had 4 (for women and all adults older than 65 years) or 5 (for men) or more drinks in a day?” Links to screening tools can be found below in the Screening Instruments section. If a member is identified as having risky or hazardous alcohol use, CalOptima expects that providers offer behavioral counseling intervention(s). Resources for counseling are included below in the Trainings, and Articles and Brochures sections. For further information regarding AMSC, you may refer to All Plan Letter (APL) 18-014 or contact CalOptima’s Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) department at

Fact Sheets

Updated National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC) Fact Sheet

Alcohol Facts and Statistics


National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Video-Training

US Preventative Services Task Force (UPSTF)-Behavioral Counseling Interventions

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources and Services Administration (SAMSHA-HRSA): Motivational Interviewing

Screening Instruments


Audit C

Audit - Spanish

Audit C - Spanish

Articles and Brochures

Screening and Behavioral Counseling Interventions in Primary Care to Reduce Alcohol Misuse

NIAAA Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and Your Health

NIAAA – Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much

Understanding Alcohol’s Impact on Health


Orange County Health Care Agency – OC Links

Orange County Health Care Agency – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services

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