Wisconsin Requires Behavioral Health Centers to Have a Plan for Tobacco Treatment

Wisconsin behavioral health providers who treat substance use disorders are required by October 2022 to formulate plans to assess and treat tobacco use and have a policy about smoke-free environments. It’s due to the State of Wisconsin’s revised Administrative Code Chapter 75.

The revision includes updates to outdated language and improves upon provision of care recommendations that were previously in the chapter. More specifically, section 75.23: Service Levels of Care includes added language that strengthens standards regarding tobacco treatment and smoke-free facilities:

  • (7) TOBACCO USE DISORDER TREATMENT AND SMOKE−FREE FACILITY. A service shall have written policies outlining the service’s approach to assessment and treatment for concurrent tobacco use disorders, and the facility’s policy regarding a smoke-free environment.
David Macmaster
David “Mac” Macmaster

“This is an exciting opportunity for Wisconsin’s Behavioral Health System to implement best practices related to tobacco treatment and smoke-free policies,” said Karen Conner, project manager for the Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Integration Project (WiNTiP), which works to help behavioral health patients to quit using tobacco.

WiNTiP Managing Consultant David “Mac” Macmaster said he is heartened by the new rule and is excited about its potential.

“We can cheer for these improvements WINTIP, the Bureau of Prevention, Treatment and Recovery and our other stakeholders have worked for all these years,” he said. Macmaster and UW-CTRI Outreach Specialist Sarah Thompson recently presented about it at a substance use conference at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton.

“It was a good conference,” Macmaster said. “This is a new opportunity for tobacco integration at this conference.” Macmaster presented on how the revised professional standards for behavioral health, laid out in a state rule known as Chapter 75, provides opportunities for providers to treat tobacco use as part of their substance-abuse treatment. View the presentation below:

“Mac did a great job,” Thompson said. “We had attendees online as well as in person, and since then I’ve had people contacting me. One person enrolled in the Bucket Approach training.”

Sarah Thompson
Sarah Thompson

Healthcare professionals can get credits for taking the online Bucket Approach training to learn about how to treat tobacco use among behavioral health patients, created by UW-CTRI Distinguished Researcher Dr. Bruce Christiansen.

Thompson briefly reported on the outcomes of the Bucket Approach training that Christiansen is putting together in his final report for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. As of August 2021, 999 people have enrolled in the Bucket Approach training from 41 states and six different countries—including 546 people from Wisconsin. Approximately 65 percent report working in a behavioral health setting at the time of enrollment, 53 percent of which work in a setting that provides treatment for substance use disorders.

For more on tobacco and behavioral health, click here.