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Lawmakers consider mental health and other key DHS initiatives

Proposals improve services, manage growth in sex offender program

April 03, 2013

Jeremy Drucker

PDF version of news release

Initiatives to improve chemical and mental health services and help clients transition from intuitions to the community are scheduled to be heard by legislators Thursday. A proposal to manage growth in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program is also included. The House Health and Human Services Finance committee is set to review the legislation starting at 10 a.m. in room 200 of the State Office Building. The proposals, which are part of Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget, are authored by Sen. Tony Lourey and Rep. Tom Huntley.
“The initiatives continue to improve how the state provides mental and chemical health services that are focused on recovery and community integration,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “They also take advantage of opportunities in the Affordable Care Act, which will provide access to behavioral health services to more Minnesotans and require more coordinated care.”

The DHS proposals include:

  • Improve mental health and chemical health services. Items in Gov. Dayton’s budget include doubling the capacity in schools for mental health treatment and early intervention, expanding  the number of primary care clinicians trained to use the Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment process to identify people at risk of drug or alcohol abuse, and expanding mobile mental health crisis response teams to serve an additional 16 counties and two tribes. In addition, a specialized mental health treatment service is established. Assistant Commissioner David Hartford will testify about these proposals.   
  • Transition to the community. This initiative would create incentives and provide tools to move patients out of Minnesota Security Hospital and Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center, enabling patients to be served in the community and freeing needed beds at these hospitals. Deputy Commissioner Anne Barry will testify about this proposal.
  • Minnesota Sex Offender Program growth. The governor’s budget increases operational funding for the Minnesota Sex Offender Program to meet projections for growth in the number of civil commitments. Deputy Commissioner Anne Barry will also testify about this proposal.

Fact sheets on additional DHS legislative initiatives and proposals are on the DHS website. The legislative hearing schedule is subject to change. Updates can be found on the House website.

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