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For Immediate Release
October 19, 2023
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

Wisconsin Adds New Hub to Pilot Program

Northwest Milwaukee site to join effort to test model emphasizing care coordination in the treatment of substance use disorder

The Department of Health Services (DHS) will be adding a fourth site to a program initiated in 2020 that pilots a hub and spoke approach to treating Wisconsin Medicaid members affected by substance use disorder and physical and behavioral health issues that challenge their efforts in recovery. Vin Baker Recovery of Milwaukee was selected in a process earlier this year. The organization's startup costs as a pilot program participant will be funded through Wisconsin’s 2022 share of the National Prescription Opiate Litigation settlement. Nearly all of those funds have been distributed to agencies providing prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support.

Under the pilot, individual organizations take the lead as a “hub” on the care of people in their program, ensuring that substance use disorder treatment and other health care needs are addressed. Hub teams include peer providers who have lived experience with substance use to improve member engagement with their treatment. Each team develops individualized integrated care plans, implements those plans through connections and referrals, and facilitates members’ treatment across different settings. Each hub then works with a network of “spoke” organizations that provide a range of services customized to further address each member’s unique circumstances. 

“Adding a site to this promising pilot will increase our understanding of how this model works in another setting,” said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. “Better yet, it means more members can receive individualized services and improved access to the necessary physical health care providers, prescribers, and behavior health specialists, leading to better overall health outcomes.”

DHS data show that between 2014 and 2021, 9,512 people died of drug overdoses in Wisconsin. Of those deaths, 7,436 were caused by opioids. DHS publishes a data dashboard showing statewide and local substance use disorder death data.

“Our work helping to secure hundreds of millions of dollars from opioid companies for their role in the epidemic has not only meant that those companies are being held accountable but also that substantial amounts of funds will be available to help fight the epidemic,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “This announcement shows the impact those funds are beginning to have.”

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 but is in use in Wisconsin across all substance use disorders. So far, more than 750 Medicaid members have received services through the three existing pilot sites.

Find more information about the hub and spoke pilot program on the DHS website. People struggling with a substance use disorder, or whose loved ones are 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.

Last revised November 1, 2023