Wisconsin has long been a leader in developing supportive services for persons with mental health and substance use disorders living in the community.
Unlike other mental health and substance abuse services managed by the Department of Health Services, Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) provides programming to people of all ages -- youth to elderly -- living with either a mental illness and/or substance use disorder. CCS is for individuals who need ongoing services beyond occasional outpatient care, but less than the intensive care provided in a hospital setting. The individual works with a dedicated team of service providers to develop a treatment and recovery plan to meet the individual's unique needs and goals. A 2013 study (PDF, 1.2 MB) of the consumer experience in CCS found this targeted, community-based approach is effective in promoting better overall health and life satisfaction. CCS reduces an individual's reliance on costly high-end services, such as emergency rooms.
Eligibility for CCS
Eligibility for CCS is determined through a screening process conducted by the county-based provider organization. This screening process is repeated annually to assess the individual's progress.
CCS became available to counties in Wisconsin in 2005. The number of individuals enrolled in CCS programs has grown every year.
The 2013-2015 state budget provided funding to expand CCS statewide. The investment allows the state to pay the non-federal share of Medicaid costs for counties that adopted a regional service delivery model, effective July 1, 2014. Developing regional service models increases access to CCS and creates efficiencies in administration. Presently, there are 15 certified regions. Eight other proposed regions are undergoing Department of Health Services review. (Map of regions) When all 23 regions begin serving clients in the first half of 2015, CCS will be available to 95 percent of the state's population.
Information for individuals and their families regarding the CCS program, including what services are available and how to enroll.
Information for county staff, service provider staff and other stakeholders in the CCS program, including training resources and resources on the CCS expansion initiative.
Stories of recovery
These stories were submitted by CCS program providers.
Sam, 12, was initially referred to CCS by local school district special education staff who were concerned, along with his parents, about worsening behavioral difficulties (absenteeism, avoiding school work, physical conflicts with peers) and mental health symptoms (anxiety, anger and suicidal ideation). He had a recent psychiatric hospitalization due to depression and suicidal ideation. Parents and school staff had gone as far as having the police liaison officer escort him to school. Sam was failing classes and was socially isolated. Parents reported that problems at home included anger, aggression and failing to complete everyday activities like bathing. He had been receiving outpatient services since being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at age 6. He also was sexually abused at age 7. The CCS program began by facilitating collaboration between school staff, Sam, and his parents to align home and school behavioral interventions. Treatment services included cognitive behavioral therapy to improve coping skills, mood regulation, and self advocacy, therapeutic mentoring with an emphasis on social skills development, and psychiatric medications. Parents were provided psycho-education regarding how to best respond to his his challenging behaviors. Sam currently is attending school full-time with no absenteeism. He is attending all regular education classes with no recent incidents of aggression or police contacts. He expresses a desire to be at school with his friends and has not been re-hospitalized.
Mary, 56, received outpatient mental health services from the county for many years. She had an extensive history of numerous and serious suicide attempts and consequently was hospitalized over 20 times. She was referred to the CCS program in 2008. Due to suicide attempts, she was living in a licensed adult family home. Through the CCS program she received more intensive services in the community than she had ever received before. She participated in intensive cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, Illness Management and Recovery, and supportive employment. She also completed a Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Mary has moved out of the adult family home and into her own apartment. In 2012, she became a certified peer specialist and is currently employed as such. She was also able to reduce her services and in December 2012 she was discharged from all services.
There are rules to ensure patient rights are protected. The Client Rights Office is responsible for the implementation and oversight of patient rights for individuals receiving services for mental illness or substance abuse in Wisconsin.
Contact the CCS program
The Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services oversees the CCS program for the Department of Health Services. If you have general questions about the program, please call 608-266-2717 or email DHS DMHSAS CCS Support.
For information on services available in your area, please use this directory to find contact information for your county or tribal agency.