Memorial Medical Center is one of fourteen hospitals working with the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) to bring additional mental health services to our rural communities.
The RWCH is the recipient of a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)* to operationalize a telehealth network where behavioral health practitioners in parts of the state without shortages can provide mental health services to rural areas where they are needed.
This is in response to Wisconsin having one of the lowest rates in the country in terms of meeting the state’s mental healthcare needs. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the state meets only 23% of its population’s mental healthcare needs, with 44 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties designated as mental health professional shortage areas.
This fall, the RWHC Behavioral Telehealth Network launched two pilot telehealth go-lives between St. Croix Regional Medical Center and Tomah Memorial Hospital, along with Memorial Medical Center and Upland Hills Health Spring Green clinic. Next on the network’s list, a psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner (APNP) from Western Wisconsin Health in Baldwin is scheduled to start providing medication management services to patients in Montfort, Barneveld, Spring Green, and at St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo.
Upon completion of these go-lives, RWHC will work with its members and other organizations to expand services to additional rural Wisconsin communities. Memorial Medical Center is excited to be a part of this collaborative effort to bring additional behavioral health services to northwest Wisconsin.
“Telehealth is just one innovative way to address the severe shortage of mental health providers in rural Wisconsin,” says Karen Hansen, COO at Memorial Medical Center. “By working with the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, we can begin to address this statewide issue with other rural partners to better serve our patients, despite a workforce shortage.”
*This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D06RH27788 through the Rural Health Network Development Program for $897,291 over three years. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.