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$1 Million federal grant awarded to address rural opioid crisis

Benefitting Chippewa, Barron, Rusk and Washburn Counties

Chippewa Falls, WI – A $1 Million *grant from the  Health Resources & Services Administration’s (HRSA) Rural Communities Opioid Response Program has been awarded to L.E. Phillips-Libertas Treatment Center, a service of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls, to fund a three-year project that address the opioid crisis in four northwest Wisconsin counties.

The treatment center will use the HRSA grant, as well as an additional $15,000 grant from the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, to implement an opioid response plan developed by the Northwest Wisconsin Heroin Opioid Prevention Education (NW WI HOPE) Consortium, which encompasses Chippewa, Barron, Rusk and Washburn counties. 

The project will begin September 1 and includes: 
  • Community education
  • Drug take back events
  • Youth prevention programs
  • Drug screenings and treatment
  • Recruitment and professional development of alcohol and drug treatment providers
  • Enhanced collaboration with law enforcement and first responders
  • Use of integrated treatment models
  • Development of a recovery community
  • Data collection

Toni Simonson, executive director of behavioral care at L.E. Phillips-Libertas Treatment Center, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital and Prevea Health says it’s an honor to receive this grant on behalf of the NW WI HOPE Consortium. 

“Our goal is to strengthen and expand rural opioid and substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services,” says Simonson. “It is the Consortium’s task to work with diverse stakeholders to enhance the ability of rural residents to access treatment and make the transition toward recovery.” 

The NW WI HOPE Consortium was created with funds from a $200,000 HRSA grant received in August 2020. The Consortium includes representatives from:  HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital and the L.E. Phillips Libertas Treatment Center (Chippewa Falls); Barron County Sheriff’s Department (Barron); Barron County Department of Health and Human Services (Barron); Cumberland Healthcare (Cumberland); Prevea Health (Ladysmith, Rice Lake, Chippewa Falls, Cornell); Stanley-Boyd Area Schools (Stanley); Stanley Correctional Institution (Stanley); Rusk County Health Department (Ladysmith); Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College (Hayward); Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (Shell Lake); Washburn County Health and  Human Services Department (Shell Lake).


*This news release is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1M with 100 percent funded by HRSA/HHS and no amount or percent funded by nongovernment sources. (A separate additional grant of $15,000 to support the HRSA project work plan was committed by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Foundation.) The news release contents are those of the project authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.
Grant #: GA142938-01-00
Program #: HRSA-21-088; CFDA 93.912
Award: $1M (over 36 mos.); 9/1/2021 through 8/31/2024
Project: HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) Implementation Grant
Grantee/Applicant: HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, LEP Libertas, Prevea (Chippewa Falls, WI)

About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels.

About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 Local Systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries. For more information about HSHS, visit For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit

Media Contacts

Karen Kraus
Public Relations
(715) 717-4747
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