Pauquette Center ups mental health services across 6 locations including Portage, Baraboo | Regional news

Pauquette Center ups mental health services across 6 locations including Portage, Baraboo | Regional news

Pauquette Center for Psychological Services is expanding services across its six locations, including Portage and Baraboo, and will likely add a seventh site in Madison before the end the year.

The mental health provider in the last year has added eight new clinicians who are also based in the locations of Columbus, Sauk Prairie, Reedsburg and Richland Center. The new hires bring the center’s total clinical staff to 40.

Among the new personnel is Dr. Lesley B. Chapin who now serves as vice president and the second-in-command to owner and President Dr. Thomas Hayes.

“We average between 2,700 and 2,800 client contacts per month, and that will go up to more than 3,000 by end of year thanks to Dr. Chapin and her ability to drive this expansion,” Hayes said. “After she came on board, she’s recruited five more clinicians.”

Pauquette expects to soon open an office on the northeast side of Madison that would share clinicians between sites in Portage and Columbus, Hayes said, while another site could be added between Mauston and Montello within a year.

Its clinical staff will keep growing as more sites get added.

“The bottom line is we’re a pretty unique organization for our service in rural areas,” Hayes said of the clinic that was founded in Portage by Dr. Larry Larrabee in 1954. Hayes started working for Pauquette in 1991 and became the owner in 1995.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise to find a robust organization serving large urban areas, but to have these 40 professionals available across six sites in three counties plus the contiguous counties around them, that’s unique.”

Pauquette’s expansion arrives with good timing for the residents of Sauk County, where Tellurian is closing its outpatient addiction clinic in Baraboo only a year after SSM Health St. Clare Hospital closed its Baraboo treatment and recovery center. Pauquette has 15 addiction specialists including Hayes who provide daily treatment as well as outpatient services.

“The growth of our staff is filling a grave need in our community for mental health services,” Chapin said. “Rural communities — like the ones that Pauquette serves — are usually drastically underserved by mental health professionals, and I think we’ve done a good job hiring professionals with a broad variety (in specialties). Our ADOA (alcohol and other drug abuse) services are expanding at a time when there’s an influx of need related to an opioid crisis.”

Pauquette is a comprehensive behavioral health organization that meets “virtually every need when it comes to addiction or mental health treatment,” Hayes said of its services that include psychotherapy, group therapy, psychological assessment and testing, supervised family visitation, employee assistance and more.

Chapin, based in Portage, specializes in dialectical behavioral therapy — one of only five individuals in Wisconsin who is certified for such treatment, she said. This “life-saving treatment” builds skills in clients that have proven to reduce the risk of suicide and hospitalizations for psychiatric evaluations, Chapin added.

“We really are a one-stop shop for mental health treatment,” said Chapin, who worked as a licensed psychologist for Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison for about four years before she became the vice president at Pauquette. “We treat adults, children, families and couples. … We have quite a bit of expertise in our organization, and that’s something I appreciate myself for consultation purposes.”

Follow Noah Vernau on Twitter @NoahVernau or contact him at 608-695-4956.

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