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Report: Wisconsin drug, alcohol addicts don't have enough treatment facilities


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - About 33,000 Wisconsinites with drug and alcohol addictions are supposed to get health insurance for the first time next year under the Obama reform act.

But the Associated Press says those addicts might not get the care they need, because of a lack of treatment facilities.

Wisconsin has around 1,200 beds at treatment facilities – and the AP says a quarter of them are empty because they cannot find qualified therapists. Other treatment facilities say they hesitate to hire more people – because they don’t know how much the federal government will reimburse them.

Federal officials say around 12 percent of the state’s population, or 541,000 people, need some kind of substance abuse treatment. Only about 61,000 of those addicts are getting the treatment.

Aurora Psychiatric Hospital of suburban Milwaukee says it’s barely meeting its treatment demand now, due to a lack of qualified staff.

Also, the AP said Governor Scott Walker’s refusal to accept more Medicaid funds means that around 30,000 fewer addicts will be eligible for health coverage. It says the total could have been almost 64,000.