AP NEWS

Second Baraboo drug addiction clinic will close in a year as Tellurian announces it will end service

May 7, 2019

Financial challenges have prompted Tellurian to close its outpatient addiction clinic in Baraboo. Operations will cease in June.

The clinic benefited from grant funding for its first three years of operation, but that money ran out in July. The clinic since has relied on insurance reimbursements.

“This was a difficult business decision, but Tellurian is no longer able to operate the Baraboo clinic due to the financial impact on our organization,” said Ann Gile, director of treatment. Tellurian runs facilities in Madison and La Crosse.

The closing of Tellurian’s clinic will come a year after SSM Health St. Clare Hospital closed its Baraboo treatment and recovery center.

Tellurian has operated a day treatment and outpatient program in Baraboo for the past two years. Additionally, it provided medication-assisted treatment and recovery services to residents of Sauk and Columbia counties as part of a three-year, $1 million grant awarded to Sauk County by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

That money was earmarked to treat people addicted to heroin and pain pills. The pilot program was one of 12 in the U.S., and the first in Wisconsin. Clients were given naltrexone, a drug that blocks the effects of heroin and prescription drugs such as oxycodone. They also received counseling.

Tellurian administered naltrexone and connected clients to counselors at the St. Clare Center or Pauquette Center. Tellurian eventually began offering outpatient counseling services of its own to meet demand, and expanded to Columbia County.

In Sauk County, one out of every 140 residents needs opiate treatment. It’s one of only 255 U.S. counties that reported more than 10 opioid poisoning deaths per 100,000 people from 2009-2013.

Tellurian’s board of directors decided last month to close the Baraboo clinic.

“The need is absolutely there, there’s no questioning that,” Gile said. But at this time, running an outpatient addiction treatment facility doesn’t pay.

“We just couldn’t make it work financially,” she said. “There’s just unfortunately not other day treatment providers.”

Last year SSM Health said changing regulations at the state and federal level, coupled with qualified staff shortages and lack of reimbursement funding, put its rehabilitation center for alcoholism and other drug addictions on an unsustainable path.

The Treatment and Recovery Center at St. Clare had operated since 1986, offering inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment, along with aftercare services to about 45 patients.

A 2016 report from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows rates of drug-related death, injury and hospitalization in Sauk County are higher than state averages. About 70% of drug overdose deaths in Sauk County are due to opioids, with most resulting from prescription painkillers, but also heroin and fentanyl, according to the state health department.