Marshfield Medical Center, Ladysmith, 2021 Community Benefit

Task Force Focuses on Recovery in Rusk County

A year ago, Marshfield Clinic Health System asked a diverse group of Rusk County agencies what the focus should be for addressing substance use in the community. The overwhelming answer was: ‘Recovery.’
Substance misuse was identified as a primary community health issue in the 2019 Rusk County Community Needs Assessment survey. Nearly 80% of survey participants classified substance use as a “major problem” and 40% claimed, “people are not aware of the resources to stop or prevent substance use.”
To address these concerns, a group of 21 individuals representing 13 different agencies was convened to establish the foundation of a Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC) model. The evidence-based model focuses on long-term outcomes and linking initial treatment and active and ongoing care management. On behalf of this group of key stakeholders, Marshfield Medical Center-Ladysmith applied for and was awarded a Substance Use Disorder Grant from the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. With the hospital serving as the backbone organization and the additional grant support, the newly named Rusk County Recovery Task Force began developing a roadmap for putting the model to work locally.
In their first year of existence, the Task Force has already achieved early success with the compilation, publication and distribution of the Rusk County Resource Guide for Substance Use and Mental Health. For years, the need for all-encompassing guide of prevention, intervention, treatment and post-treatment resources had been discussed, but was not possible until the large-scale collaboration provided by the Task Force. The guide is used to educate Rusk County residents on the resources available to address and improve mental health and substance use issues. With this knowledge, community members can improve their own health and contribute to the overall health of the community.