Ambulatory Detoxification

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Ambulatory Detox Program

The Ambulatory Detoxification Program is program individuals requiring detoxification from drugs or alcohol, with many of the benefits of inpatient detoxification but in a less-restrictive, cost-effective environment. This is the first step in a continuum of substance-abuse treatment that ultimately leads to recovery. Services are available to residents in the counties of Marathon, Langlade, and Lincoln.

Common Questions About the Ambulatory Detoxification Program

1. What is the NCHC Ambulatory Detoxification Program?

Our Ambulatory Detoxification Program is an outpatient model for individuals requiring detoxification from drugs and alcohol. The program is unique in that it provides many of the benefits of inpatient detoxification but in a setting that is more cost-effective and less restrictive. The program is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, where patients will be under the care of an interdisciplinary team that includes Physicians, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Behavioral Health Technicians, in addition to a Substance Abuse Counselor, Medical Director, Nursing Director, and the Behavioral Health Services Director.

Services include assessment and patient observation, medical history, monitoring of vital signs, treatment of withdrawal symptoms, Substance Abuse Counselor consultation, and referrals for ongoing addiction and substance abuse treatment. Toni Simonson, Senior Executive, Human Services, of NCHC explains, ”Ambulatory detoxification services fit our mission and vision of providing person-centered, outcome-based care in the least restrictive environment.”

2. Why does North Central Health Care have an Ambulatory Detoxification Program?

In the past, many detoxification patients were served on an inpatient basis since other outpatient options were not available. Using the State of Wisconsin Uniform Placement Criteria (WI-UPC), an analysis of the population identified that the majority would be better served on an outpatient basis.

The Ambulatory Detoxification Program is designed to meet several goals:

  • Provide detoxification services at optimal levels and in an environment appropriate for this category of patient
  • Deliver services in a fiscally responsible manner
  • Meet federal and state requirements
  • Provide a continuum of substance-abuse treatments that ultimately leads to a full recovery

3. Is additional licensing or certification required in order for North Central Health Care to provide this program?

Yes. North Central Health Care applied to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for certification (DHS Chapter 75.08) to offer an ambulatory detoxification program so that patients will be able to receive these services in a medically-managed manner. We have developed a full complement of policies and procedures, as well as remodeled our facility and allocated staff resources for the new program.

4. Where is the Ambulatory Detoxification Program located, and what is its capacity?

North Central Health Care
Ambulatory Detoxification Services
1100 Lake View Drive
Wausau, WI 54403

Admission assessment is conducted at the NCHC Crisis Center, and the telephone number is 715.845.4326. The service will provide patient care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and initially will have the capacity to care for up to five individuals.

5. How will NCHC’s Ambulatory Detoxification Program services be administered?

The Ambulatory Detoxification services will consist of a medically-managed, monitored and structured detoxification service provided on an outpatient, voluntary basis and delivered by a physician or other service personnel acting under the supervision of a physician.

The Ambulatory Detoxification services will consist of a medically managed, monitored and structured detoxification service provided on an outpatient, voluntary basis and delivered by a physician or other service personnel acting under the supervision of a physician.

  • Ambulatory detoxification patients will be assessed for psychological and social signs and symptoms of substance abuse and dependence, along with mental health disorders, trauma, and suicide risk, using Wisconsin Uniform Placement Criteria (WI-UPC) and Clinical Institute Assessment of Alcohol Scale Revised (CIW-Ar)
  • Management and monitoring of intoxication withdrawal will be performed by nursing staff, including assessment and dispensing of medications to assist with withdrawal
  • The service will generally be limited to 48 hours or less but may extend in duration for specific cases
  • Referral for ongoing treatment will be provided upon discharge

6. Which types of patients will be cared for under NCHC’s Ambulatory Detoxification Program?

NCHC’s new program will provide care for patients age 18 and older in need of detoxification for alcohol and opiate withdrawal in an ambulatory outpatient setting who do not require general hospital services for alcohol poisoning.

  • Each patient will be evaluated on an individual basis
  • To meet admission criteria for the ambulatory detoxification services, patients must require detoxification from alcohol or opiates, including but not limited to acute intoxications or withdrawal
  • Clients will generally be cooperative and voluntary

7. Will other options outside of the ambulatory detoxification services be offered to patients that meet specific criteria?

Yes. A number of options may apply:

  • Minors will be referred to a general hospital or sent home with parents, if available and appropriate
  • Patients who are medically compromised will be referred to a general hospital
  • Those who can be cared for by family or friends—and who pose no danger to themselves or others—will be sent home
  • The Behavioral Health Inpatient program will continue to provide detoxification services to psychiatric patients whose primary diagnosis is psychiatric, but with co-occurring detoxification issues

8. Are there any limitations to the ambulatory detoxification services NCHC will be offering?

Yes. In certain cases restrictions will apply:

  • NCHC will not provide ambulatory detoxification services to minors or those who are severely medically compromised
  • Ambulatory Detoxification is a voluntary service that cannot hold individuals against their will; accordingly, this program is not designed to accommodate involuntary commitments
  • County of residence restrictions apply

9. How is a referral made to Ambulatory Detoxification?

A number of options are available:

  • No appointment is necessary. Self-referrals are welcome
  • Call or walk in to the North Central Health Care Crisis Center in Wausau located at 1100 Lake View Drive
  • Contact Numbers: 715.845.4326 or 800.799.0122

10. Whom can I contact if I have additional questions?

Please contact:

  • The North Central Health Care Crisis Center: 715.845.4326 or 800.799.0122