Michael Loy, CEO, North Central Health Care (NCHC) and his team welcomed Attorney General Josh Kaul to the NCHC inpatient psychiatric hospital in Wausau for a discussion on mental health and addiction treatment last week. They were joined by WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford, area law enforcement, and county leaders for the visit and discussion.
Loy shared their community’s challenges, opportunities, and successes in meeting mental health and addiction treatment needs. Partnership and collaboration across the community to address mental health and substance abuse issues in a non-siloed way were key themes of the discussion.
“We are partnering with our entire community to improve outcomes for the population. It takes a lot of different people at the table and a lot of collaboration and working together proactively to make sure we have the best services, at the right time, in the most cost-effective way,” said Loy.
Kaul echoed that message and highlighted the successes in north central Wisconsin as potential models for the rest of the state.
“We talked with law enforcement and hospital leaders on work that they are doing collaboratively to address emergency detentions, as well as the work they are doing collaboratively to address the opioid crisis and growing meth problem,” said Kaul. “There are some innovative programs going on in Marathon County that are looking at things holistically as a system. There is a lot more work to be done at a state level to address emergency detention and opioid addiction and the growing meth problem.”
Unique in Wisconsin, NCHC is a county-owned behavioral health care system that was formed in 1972 as a partnership between Marathon, Lincoln and Langlade Counties to fulfill their statutory behavioral health obligations and meet community needs. NCHC provides a full range of behavioral health services from outreach and outpatient services, to crisis, inpatient and residential services to residents in Marathon, Lincoln and Langlade Counties. NCHC has 16 inpatient psychiatry beds.
“North Central Health Care is a model for comprehensive, regional behavioral health services in Wisconsin,” said Stanford. “WHA thanks Attorney General Kaul for visiting North Central Health Care to see first-hand their successes, as well as the complexity and challenges in meeting communities’ behavioral health needs.”
Emergency detention challenges were another key issue the group discussed.
“It is an issue that is not unique to central Wisconsin, but I think we are doing some proactive and unique things here that can help the Attorney General and the administration improve care not only here, but across the state,” said Loy.
“We need to work together on solutions because we are dealing with a complex problem,” explained Loy. “It really requires a lot of different people and a lot of moving parts. We can’t just press on one and get a solution. We have to work in a multifaceted way to serve our community.”