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Wisconsin Accepting Applications to Pilot New Approach to Treating Substance Use Disorders

The Department of Health Services is inviting interested organizations to apply to pilot a new hub and spoke model intended to help Wisconsin Medicaid members with not only substance use disorders but also other physical and behavioral health issues that challenge their efforts in recovery. In this model, an organization takes the lead as a “hub” on the care of the Wisconsinites in their program, ensuring that substance use disorder treatment and other health care needs are addressed. The hub then works with a network of “spoke” organizations which provide a range of services that are customized to support each individual’s unique circumstances. 

“Piloting the hub and spoke model is the next step in integrating quality health care for individuals with a substance use disorder,” said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Using the hub and spoke model of care, the sites selected for our pilot will increase access and provide a higher level of care. Wisconsinites in need will receive individualized comprehensive care services that improve their physical and behavioral health, build social support systems, and address their substance use issues, leading to better outcomes.”

The hub and spoke model is intended to provide ongoing proactive support and coordinated care for people in recovery, in contrast to reactive acute-care approaches where they may only receive occasional treatment in settings like emergency rooms or correctional facilities. Authorized by 2019 Wisconsin Act 9, the model is an evidence-based approach that has been proven in other states to be effective in addressing opioid use disorders. Wisconsin is expanding the approach beyond opioids.

DHS data show that between 2014 and 2019, 5,516 people died of drug overdoses in Wisconsin. Of those deaths, 3,862 were caused by opioids. Statewide and local substance use disorder death data can be found on the DHS Data Dashboards.

The Request for Application is available on the DHS website. The deadline for the application is August 24. DHS will be funding up to three pilots. Announcement of the successful sites will take place in October.

People struggling with a substance use disorder, or who have a  loved one struggling, can call the toll-free Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline at 833-944-4673. This free and confidential service is staffed by trained specialists who offer information on local treatment services.