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The seven Community Behavioral Health Hospitals operated by DHS are an important element of mental health care for people in Greater Minnesota, according to a report to the Legislature issued this week by the DHS Chemical and Mental Health Services Administration. However, the 16-bed psychiatric hospitals do not solve many rural regions’ top mental health services challenge: the lack of local, reliable and timely access to a secure facility for people with serious mental illness who are also aggressive or violent. The CBHHs lack the physical plant, staffing and security to serve that population, the report says.
Report on the Utilization of the Community Behavioral Health Hospitals (PDF) reviews the role that the CBHHs currently play in Minnesota’s mental health service system and summarizes recommendations of regional mental health planning groups regarding the hospitals. The report proposes four simultaneous strategies for increasing the availability of in-patient psychiatric beds for people with serious mental illness and aggressive or violent behaviors and addressing other high-priority needs:
Implementing changes to streamline admissions to the CBHHs and the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center
Easing pressure on the system by ensuring appropriate and timely discharges of patients who no longer need a hospital level of care
Instituting operational improvements to increase utilization of the CBHHs and respond to other priorities identified by stakeholders
Regional and statewide collaborations to fix gaps in Minnesota’s mental health service system. These collaborations would formulate a shared safety net concept, integrate mental health into Minnesota’s health care reform efforts, review and revise service arrays and quality standards, devise funding models to support the services, and establish the technological and logistical systems needed to administer and evaluate the system.
DHS currently operates CBHHs in Alexandria, Annandale, Baxter, Bemidji, Fergus Falls, Rochester and St. Peter as well as funding and operating a variety of other services in the state’s mental health system.