Latest News

  • December 20, 2018 2:22 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    December 19, Wisconsin Health News

    A state commission has designed a care delivery model to increase access to treatment for substance use disorder. But critical parts of the model, like how it'll be paid for, still need work. 

    The report from the Commission on Substance Abuse Treatment Delivery was released at the final meeting of the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse in Friendship last week.

    The commission, created by Gov. Scott Walker in January, met with Medicaid officials, provider associations and others as it developed the model.

    The report describes a system of regional “hubs,” with staff specialized in addiction providing high-intensity, medication-assisted treatment, and “spokes” that offer less intensive treatment in the community.

    Vermont first developed the hub-and-spoke model, and other states have adopted similar models.

    “The model can be viewed as a draft, and a goal to move towards, as it will benefit from further input from additional stakeholders and from individuals with lived experience of addiction,” the report notes.

    The report recommends that the treatment initiation process begin within 24 hours of a person seeking care to minimize withdrawal. That capacity isn’t available in the current system, the report notes, describing it as a “long-term goal.”

    But a starting point could be emergency departments, where doctors could provide patients with a one- to three-day prescription for buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

    Care teams that provide support throughout treatment and recovery and address the social determinants of health are another critical part of the model. The makeup of the teams could vary, and the report doesn’t specify how they’d be paid for and what requirements they'd need to meet.

    Hubs will have to be able to quickly accept transfer patients that spoke clinics can't support. Spokes will also need access to specialized resources to support patients, which could be provided by either the team or the hub. “All services should be available locally across the state,” the report notes.

    The report's roadmap toward implementation includes coordinating funding and a call on healthcare payers to change how they pay for care to ensure providers participate in the model. That could include increases in reimbursement rates and incentives for care coordination and delivery.

    It’ll also require a “comprehensive monitoring and program evaluation plan" to track performance.

    Health information technology and telehealth will play a large role as will regulatory changes aimed at breaking down barriers to accessing medication-assisted treatment, according to the report.

    “How services are integrated and provided can look very different in different regions and counties, and it indeed should look different,” the report notes. “The current expectation is not a finished model, but to align the direction and goals that all partners are moving towards.” 
  • December 18, 2018 2:10 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Matt Felgus, MD
    WISAM President

    The impact of substance use disorders is in the news every day -- there is no escaping the effects this has on patient care whether you are a physician, nurse, pharmacist or therapist. However, not all of our colleagues are comfortable with this unavoidable reality, which is why it is so important for all of us to stay informed and to serve as points of contact along the way.

    I've heard some of you, especially newer WISAM members, say that you don't feel you know enough about addiction to be able to serve as a point of contact for your colleagues. But the fact that you've joined WISAM and are reading this now makes a huge difference in moving our respective fields forward in this critical subject. Keep connected and keep learning! 

    As one who started in the field as a drug counselor and finished addiction psychiatry training in the late 90s at the crest of the 'patients can't get addicted to opioids if they are using them only for pain' era, I can say from experience that your involvement matters more than you think. And for this I thank you and honor your willingness to join with us.

    And for those of you who have been on the front lines of addiction treatment for years, deep gratitude to you as well. WISAM is an amazing organization with tireless, committed officers, committee chairs, administrative staff and members. It's been an honor to represent and work alongside of you all. Let's keep moving things forward!

    Have a wonderful holiday season. And Best Wishes for 2019!

    Matt Felgus, President

  • December 18, 2018 2:08 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Marijuana was among the big winners at the polls in November, with voters in counties across the state signaling their support for legalization. Backers also have a friend in Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who has said doctors should be able to use cannabis to treat patients. 

    Meanwhile, CBD, which is extracted from hemp plants, has been heralded as a cure-all for everything from seizures to chronic pain to better sleep. State lawmakers recently approved its use, but questions over its health benefits - and legality - remain.

    A Jan. 8 Wisconsin Health News panel in Madison will take a closer look at the legal and health issues around marijuana and CBD oil – and their future in the state. Confirmed panelists include:

    • Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison
    • Sen. Pat Testin, R-Stevens Point
    • Dr. Mike Miller, American Board of Addiction Medicine

    Learn more and register to attend.

  • December 18, 2018 2:04 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    December 18, Wisconsin Health News

    More than $1.3 million in state grants will support medication-assisted treatment programs for inmates living with opioid use disorder at 16 county jails, according to a recent Department of Health Services statement.

    Grant recipients are working with jails in Bayfield, Brown, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Kenosha, Iowa, Manitowoc, Racine, Rock, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Waushara and Vilas counties.

    The money, provided under a law enacted earlier this year, is available through June 30. Up to $750,000 is available in future state fiscal years.

  • December 14, 2018 11:59 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Editor's note: the following excerpt is taken from "For One Rural Community, Fighting Addiction Started With Recruiting The Right Doctor" heard on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, Sunday, December 9, 2018.

    The story features Mark Lim, MD, an active member of WISAM/ASAM who has presented at WISAM annual conferences and recently led a session in WISAM's 2018 Webinar Series. He is board certified in both Addiction Medicine and Family Medicine, and serves as the Medical Director of NorthLakes Community Clinic in Ashland, Wisconsin.

    Dr. Mark Lim says he is surprised he's here in this 8,000 person port-town on Lake Superior. He'd dreamed of living in a big city since he moved to the U.S. from the Philippines. When he got the call about the job, he was hesitant at first. "I didn't know where that was on a map," he recalls.

    But he saw this part of Wisconsin, where the death rate from drug and alcohol abuse is nearly twice as high as the state average, as a place where he could make a difference.

    Lim's been board certified in addiction medicine since it was officially recognized as a subspecialty in 2016, but he's been working in the field since about 10 years ago when he started working in an addiction practice in Maine.

    He took the Wisconsin job, with one stipulation: He would start a program to address addiction as a whole. His expertise would be just one part of the treatment approach.

    "If I'm just going to be the Suboxone doctor I'm not doing the full practice of addiction," Lim says. Read full story.

  • December 03, 2018 1:23 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    December 3, Wisconsin Health News

    A Milwaukee task force finalized recommendations Friday on how to reduce drug misuse and overdoses.

    The recommendations from the City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force aim to guide efforts in Milwaukee County. The task force hopes to implement the changes through grants and collaboration.

    Alderman Michael Murphy, who co-chairs the task force, noted that more than 400 people died last year from overdoses. He recently received new data from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office showing a decline.

    “Right now, god willing, if things hold, we’ll see a 25 percent reduction compared to last year,” he said. “So that’s a great story.”

    Murphy wants to determine what’s working and support those programs. The task force plans to continue to meet and follow up on the recommendations.

    “Sometimes, being in government, you look at reports and you wonder if they just gather dust after they’re done,” he said. “We don’t intend to have that happen.” 

    Among the changes the report recommends are:

    • A widespread public health education campaign on substance abuse as well as efforts targeting children and teenagers.
    • Collaborating with local medical groups to increase use of the Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
    • Supporting harm reduction strategies beyond anti-overdose drugs like Naloxone, including rapid testing kits for drugs users to test substances for fentanyl and safe needle exchanges.
    • Developing a system for rapidly detecting spikes in overdoses in the county to ensure that resources target high-need areas.
    • Pursuing policies that incentivize property owners to rent to those in recovery.
    • Integrating medication-assisted treatment into federally qualified health centers, opioid treatment programs, prisons and other places.
    • Expanding drug courts that offer treatment to those serving time in prison.
  • November 27, 2018 6:56 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The Department of Health Services awarded grants to expand medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in Madison and Milwaukee, according to a Monday statement.

    ARC Community Services in Madison and United Community Center in Milwaukee each received $250,000 grants that last through September.

    The money comes from an $11.9 million federal grant DHS received last month. It's expected to be an annual award, according to the statement.

  • October 30, 2018 12:00 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    On October 24, ASAM issued a press release applauding the President for signing the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) into law. The legislation follows weeks of discussion between the House of Representatives and Senate legislative conference. The final bill signed today includes key provisions to bolster the country’s addiction treatment workforce, provide standardized, evidence-based treatment for SUD, and ensure that coverage and payment models facilitate continuity of care for patients with SUD.  Read more.

  • October 26, 2018 11:26 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)
    The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.


    National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. National Take-Back Day is a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.

    Learn more about Drug Take-Back Day in Wisconsin, and find a location near you to safely drop off your unwanted or unneeded prescription painkillers and other drugs. 

  • October 26, 2018 11:11 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Oct. 25, WMS Medigram

    A statewide summit on fighting opioid and meth abuse drew more than 500 attendees from across Wisconsin earlier this week in Milwaukee. Hosted by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and U.S. Attorneys for Wisconsin Scott Blader and Matthew Krueger, the summit coincides with Drug Take Back Day, which is this Saturday, Oct. 27.

    The summit, “Making Progress through Collaborations,” brought together
    local public health agencies, law enforcement, first responders, hospital personnel and other health care professionals, social services, prevention and intervention workers, victim advocates, teachers, community groups, faith-based leaders, government officials and others—all focused on fighting opioid and meth abuse.

    Attendees kicked off national Drug Take Back Day by bringing unused and unwanted medications to temporary drug disposal units at the summit.

    This Saturday, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 300 local law enforcement agencies throughout Wisconsin will participate in Drug Take Back Day. Held every October and November, this event provides a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposal of both prescription and over-the-counter medications, while also educating the community about the potential abuse and consequences of improper storage and disposal of these medications.

    Since 2015, Wisconsinites have disposed of over 400,000 pounds of unused and unwanted medications, and the state has been a national leader in the DEA’s drug disposal program. To find a Drug Take Back location, click here.

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920-750-7727
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