WI Health News
Gov. Scott Walker signed two executive orders that are part of a series of new recommendations offered by his task force charged with tackling the opioid epidemic.
One of Walker’s orders creates the Governor’s Commission on Substance Abuse Treatment Delivery, which will study whether Wisconsin should adopt a “hub-and-spoke” delivery model for substance abuse disorder treatment.
The model involves regional “hubs” that serve as resource centers for addiction treatment and “spokes” in the community that provide recovery support for patients as well as referrals to more intensive services.
“Too many Wisconsin families feel the painful effects of this crisis every day,” Walker said in a Friday statement. “Through the guidance and recommendations of the task force, we've created reforms that will open the door to the best treatment outcomes for patients and their families.”
An additional order signed by Walker directs the Department of Health Services to convene a faith-based summit on opioids for pastors, priests and those involved in faith-based organizations.
Under the order, DHS will work with the Law Enforcement Standards Board to develop best practices around how law enforcement and first responder should treat situations involving opioids.
The order directs DHS to apply for a federal grant to develop software that tracks treatment capacity for substance abuse services, create uniform statewide standards on data submission for people seeking treatment, work with the Department of Corrections to facilitate continuity of care for offenders reentering the community and review Medicaid prior authorization rules to ease access to buprenorphine, an opioid-addiction treatment drug.
The Department of Children and Families will also have to revise some of its programs and standards to better document and track substance abuse problems in child welfare cases. And the state patrol and Capitol Police will have to use software aiming to ensure accuracy and timely reporting for overdoses.
The order calls on the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse to continue its work. Both executive orders come from recommendations in a Friday report by task force co-chairs Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette. The recommendations build on previous actions by the Legislature and Walker's administration.
“Wisconsin is leading the way,” the co-chairs wrote in their Friday report. “Our kids and communities deserve nothing less.”
The report recommends that the state:
· Expand Department of Children and Families programs that help at-risk youth.
· Clarify state law so that schools have to teach students about prescription drug abuse.
· Create a fund to provide grants to state and local agencies to expand efforts to fight against illegal drugs.
· Add two regional drug resource prosecutors to Department of Justice field offices in Wausau and Green Bay.
· Support the use of victim impact panels, a sentencing tool for judges in drunken driving cases, that involve people in recovery or family members of overdose victims.
· Encourage the adoption of software allowing police departments to participate in a nationwide database that tracks overdose data.
· Analyze the use of technology in Milwaukee County that aims to help law enforcement and medical examiners process overdose cases faster.
· Require all prescribing professionals to have continuing education requirements specific to controlled substances.
· Provide one-time funding to the Department of Children and Families to develop internet-based training resources on the opioid epidemic for county-based social services and veterans service staff.
· Look into reciprocity for mental health and substance abuse professionals with other states.
· Fund graduate nursing education to reduce wait lists and increase class sizes at the University of Wisconsin's mental health nursing program.
· Incorporate recommendations from the agreed-upon bill from the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council that help expand coverage for addiction treatment.
· Clarify state law so that nurse practitioners and physician assistants can prescribe buprenorphine even if their supervising physician can't.
· Provide $1 million to launch a pilot project providing Vivitrol, which targets drug abuse, to individuals with substance use disorder whom are leaving jail.
· Revise Wisconsin law that targets pregnant mothers with substance abuse disorder.
· Pass a bill expanding drug courts to juvenile courts and create a fund to support such efforts.
· Pass a bill clarifying standards around people with drug convictions seeking occupational licensures.Read the report.