AHRQ-Funded “Michigan Sustained Patient-Centered Alcohol-Related Care” Program Implemented Evidence-Based Alcohol-Related Care in Primary Care Practices

December 06, 2023

The Michigan Sustained Patient-Centered Alcohol-Related Care (MI-SPARC) program was a free initiative funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that supported primary care practices in implementing behavioral health integration into clinical workflows, focusing specifically on evidence-based approaches to alcohol-related care.

Between May 2021 and August 2022, MI-SPARC was introduced in primary care practices across the state of Michigan. Through this program, providers received instruction on recognizing and treating unhealthy alcohol use. They also received technical assistance on implementing screening, brief preventative counseling, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) in their daily patient visit workflows independently. Altarum provided the ”Alcohol and Health Implementation Guide For Primary Care” which covers recommended drinking limits, SBIRT, tips for addressing risky drinking with patients, and information about treatment options, including directions to moderate their drinking, counseling, and medication-assisted treatment that primary care clinicians can manage. In addition, the guide also provided tools and resources that can be useful for implementing the program into practice. 

While fielding the MI-SPARC initiative, providers were initially hesitant about their capability to discuss the sensitive topic of alcohol use with their patients. However, after arming them with the tools and resources in this guide, they reported that they felt equipped to offer care to their patients in this domain.

While the formal initiative ended in September 2023, Altarum and AHRQ will continue to offer the guide to clinicians and support teams—primary care and beyond—who may benefit from the resources and tools. 

Explore and download the “Alcohol and Health Implementation Guide” at https://www.michigansparc.org