CUBA CITY—Mental health professionals are teaming up with Hometown Pharmacy locations across Wisconsin to provide a satellite location for mental health treatments.
Starting with seven pharmacies in February, Carmen Kosicek, CEO and founder of Alay Health Team Psychiatric Prescribing Providers, is now expanding to 45 Hometown Pharmacy locations. Focusing on neurological factors of addiction, Alay Health Team is able to prescribe treatments for psychiatric needs and connect patients with local specialists for care.
Kosicek said Wisconsin lacks mental health therapists and psychiatrists, creating lengthy waiting times for anyone in the state seeking help for addiction, mood disorders, post traumatic stress disorder and many other conditions.
“Jon [Wilson, pharmacist at Cuba City’s Hometown Pharmacy,] realized the need for these services in the community,” Kosicek said.
The service that Kosicek offers is provided electronically. When a patient makes an appointment to be seen, they receive a link to a secure site that they can access at Hometown Pharmacy in Cuba City during their allotted time. In a private room, a monitor is set up to provide a private, face-to-face discussion about the patient’s mental health situation. Kosicek and her team are able to prescribe medications as needed as long as they are able to see the patient and have a discussion with him or her. The prescription can be picked up at Hometown Pharmacy or sent to another pharmacy if desired.
She said first-time visits typically last 45 minutes to one hour with follow-up visits lasting 25-30 minutes. The Alay Health Team will find local therapists in the area to assist with treatment. They will also interface with the patient’s local health providers.
“Most people don’t mind the computer connection,” Kosicek said. “When people call the traditional system, there is a long wait. It isn’t working. We’re trying to turn things around. Other states will likely replicate this process.”
Kosicek holds a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN),Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner (APNP) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (PMHNP-BC) degrees. Through her residency for her PMHNP, she learned that she loved treating addicts.
“Out of all of medicine [practices], addiction falls under psychology,” Kosicek said. “Now our country understands mental health more, but still has an addiction problem. We do not use suboxone or methadone to treat addictions. The reason is, it is just my personal preference because those are highly addictive and have quite a street value. I don’t want to participate in that.”
Kosicek said there is no magic pill. Instead she wants to truly treat what started the addiction, which is typically a shift in neurotransmitters.
“Quite frankly, Wisconsin is easily 15 years behind because there are not enough people [in the mental health field],” Kosicek said. “If there are not enough people doing psychiatry, the ones who have been here have been doing it the same way. Without competition they tend to do things the way they have always worked.”
Kosicek stressed that it takes behavioral changes combined with the right medication to make a lasting change.
“Law enforcement deals with mental health issues all of the time and the resources are not out there,” Rick Lawrence, Cuba City Police Sergeant/Investigator, said.
Kosicek and her team can treat children through adults. Medication management and treatment spans OCD, panic, stress, anxiety, bipolar, dementia, depression, ADHD/ADD, mood disorder, suicidal ideation and post traumatic stress disorder.
They also provide non-addictive treatment for opiate, alcohol and drug dependence.
For more information, go to www.alayhealthteam.org or call 262-260-9000.