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DHS launches pilot program to help people struggling with substance use disorders

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is launching a pilot program to help people with significant substance use disorders. The goal is to make sure they have access to the treatments they need, even after being released from a treatment center.

The program is centered around a hub and spoke model where the hub is called a health home.

Instead of leaving treatment, released from a hospital, crisis program, or jail with no real plan for long-term recovery, a health home is meant to give patients with severe disorders more of a seamless transition.

"The idea is that for the most part you're receiving everything under one roof and if not under one roof, you have that solid connection to all of the services that you need," said Paul Krupski, director of opioid initiatives at DHS.

That’s where the spokes come in - it’s all a web of ways to help.

The health home will be connected to additional services providing lower intensity treatment needs assisting with other mental health disorders or finding resources like family support, disability services, and food share.

"(And) housing. We know that's a big issue. People need a safe and stable place to stay. Employment opportunities. Connecting them to that to help reintegrate them into society if necessary," said Krupski.

It’s a way to treat the whole person.

"It's not just about addressing substance abuse issues, but also physical health issues, mental health issues or challenges," said Krupski. "There are all of these different pieces that are just as important as getting the treatment and care to address a substance abuse issue."

This benefit is aimed at medicaid members. Right now, DHS is still figuring out who those health hubs will be. It plans to implement the pilot program in March of 2021.