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Gov. Evers visits the Family Health Center in Minocqua as it begins substance abuse treatment pilot program

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Katie Thoresen
Director of Substance Abuse Services shows Governor Tony Evers around the Family Health Center in Minocqua. The center will the 'hub' for a Department of Health Services substance abuse treatment pilot program.

Marshfield Clinic’s Family Health Center in Minocqua is the hub for a new substance abuse treatment model being testing in the state.

It’s one of three facilities in Wisconsin that will be testing the hub and spoke program.

Governor Tony Ever visited the Family Health Center Tuesday.

Sheila Wiex is proud of the substance abuse treatment program offered there.

The Director of Substance Abuse Services was even more proud to be able to show of the hard work she and her staff have been doing to Evers and Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake.

“I tease a number of the people I work with down in Madison for various things, that things do occur north of Hwy 10. While they’ve been very open to that, I think actually having them come and see what’s happening and the great things that are taking place and the collaborations, the consortium, that sort of thing. I think that’s huge,” said Wiex.

This was Evers and Timberlake’s third stop of the day after visiting the other two hubs. Evers said he was impressed by what he saw at Marshfield.

“Certainly, the breadth of the services offered, all of them offer have that to some extent, but from providing medicine for folks to dealing with their financial health. It’s soup to nuts. Frankly, these are folks that need significant health on a broad base of things. It’s just real impressive the broad scope of what’s happening here,” said Evers.

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Katie Thoresen
Family Health Center employees show Governor Evers how they can use telehealth to treat patients.

The goal of the program is to treat substance abuse in people eligible for BadgerCare Plus and Medicaid and at least one other health condition.

Wiex believes it will be able to help a lot of people in our region that seek help for substance abuse issues.

“I would be hard pressed to hit a number, but I would think that 50% of our people might potentially hit that need,” she said.

With it being a pilot program right now, the Family Health Center is working with Forest, Iron, Oneida, Price, and Vilas Counties as well as the three tribal communities within those counties.

It’s work Marshfield has already been doing through HOPE Consortium.

Weix says this DHS program will allow them to expand services and provide stability.

“It’s a very complex picture so having this more wrap around service increases the potential that we’re going to be able to do the right things to help people meet their goals and seek recovery,” said Weix.

Enrollment in the program starts this week.

The pilot program is expected to last at least two and a half years.

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