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Joining together to expand addiction treatment options in Northern Wisconsin

MARINETTE - To be most effective, treatment for substance use disorders requires time. When patients need to travel long distances to receive care, time can become a barrier to recovery.

HSHS St. Clare Hospital, Prevea Health and the Libertas Treatment Center in Marinette are working together to bring treatment to a larger geographical area, using telemedicine.

Patients will be able to receive one-on-one counseling, visits with their doctor and case management support, through the use of video screens. The hope is patients continue with their treatment for a longer period of time, leading to better outcomes for patients.

Miranda Behnke, Program Manager for Libertas Treatment Center in Marinette, hopes to have the telemedicine program operational by mid-2019.

“Some patients need to drive upwards of two hours, one-way, to our Marinette Treatment Center,” said Miranda. “With telemedicine, we can really take away the additional burden of travel.”

Patients will still have their initial appointments at the Libertas Treatment Center in Marinette, which will allow for case managers, counselors, doctors and nurses to establish a relationship with the patient. From there, care is determined on a case to case basis.

Telemedicine will also be able to help some patients who receive medication as part of their treatment for addiction. Medication Assisted Treatment requires careful monitoring to make sure patients are staying on track and using the medication appropriately. When medication is taken correctly, it can help curb cravings for opioids and other addictive drugs.

In 2018, of the 98 people who received care from Libertas in Marinette, 34 participated in Medication Assisted Treatment.

“Research shows outcomes improve when patients participate in Medication Assisted Treatment and Counseling for three months or more,” said Miranda. “We hope this additional resource will help continue positive trends we have already been seeing.”

In 2018, 92.5 percent of patients receiving counseling and Medication Assisted Treatment completed more than 90 days of treatment, improving from 60 percent in 2017.

“This contributes to patients gaining a solid foundation for their recovery,” said Miranda.

10 sites in Northern Wisconsin will participate in the rollout of the telemedicine program, including two sites outside of the HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital and Prevea Health organizations. Those treatment centers will be housed at the Florence County Human Services building and at a Menominee Tribal Clinic.

“We saw that Prevea Health and HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital had a really good hold in Oconto County, and we needed to get north and south of our main coverage area,” said Miranda.

HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital is providing funding for Libertas to receive the necessary certification from the State of Wisconsin for the telemedicine program. With organizations working together, treatment options will continue to expand into more underserved communities.

“The hospital’s support is really helping to strengthen the areas we serve, by bringing treatment directly to communities which need it the most,” said Miranda. “By expanding the reach of these treatment programs, we are working together to break down barriers for those who need help.”

Media Contacts

Angela Deja
Public Relations Coordinator
(920) 272-3360

Dana Jermstad
Senior Communications and Public Relations Manager
(920) 429-1752
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