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Policy Steering Committee.

Our VitAL policy steering committee (PSC) consists of many key stakeholders, and each one is aware that the implementation of VitAL requires multiple system changes at various levels. The PSC is a diverse array of government officials, organizations, businesses, and medical professionals, all of whom are in support of both the screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) model and the impact it will make on Alabama residents.

The PSC helps to oversee and guide VitAL, and their primary responsibility is strategizing for policy changes at the state level. The PSC also provides support for the integration of VitAL into the existing system of care to ensure the sustainability of screenings and interventions for individuals in the state of Alabama. They have very specific goals:

  • Promote and guide Alabama’s SBIRT initiative to meet its stated aims
  • Interface with policy-making bodies to help ensure the sustainability of SBIRT, the availability of behavioral health services, and the integration of behavioral health with other health improvement effects

The Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council charged the PSC to move forward with the SBIRT objectives found in the Governor’s Strategic Plan, which include:

Promotion, expansion, and integration of SBIRT, which is an evidence-based practice, into public systems of care to increase the identification and treatment of substance use disorders and reduce the impact of related mental and physical diseases.

  • Objective 1: Build capacity for integrated treatment and systems within areas with a high prevalence of substance use disorders, specifically within public systems of care and targeted service areas (i.e. hospital emergency departments, primary care networks, community pharmacies, and dental programs) necessary to increase capacity to identify, reduce, and prevent substance use disorders.
  • Objective 2: Identify and leverage existing programs and resources to expand access to treatment and related services and support for substance use disorders.
  • Objective 3: Review coverage policies and plan allowances for billing SBIRT services through state health programs and provider networks.
  • Objective 4: Increase addiction competencies through proposed minimum continuing education requirements to the professional licensing boards, i. e., social work, counseling, nursing, psychologist, etc.
  • Objective 5: Expand education related to SBIRT of substance use disorder and addiction through postsecondary/graduate curriculum content and practicum experience across professional schools, i.e., social work, counseling, nursing, psychology, etc.