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      DHS, Mayo working to improve children’s mental health in Minnesota

      Posted on June 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      In 2010, the Minnesota Legislature enacted legislation allowing the Department of Human Services to develop a Collaborative Psychiatric Consultation Service. Now, the Minnesota Department of Human Services has entered into a two-year, $1.7 million contract with the Mayo Clinic to deliver specialized guidance to primary care providers and pediatricians who prescribe psychotropic medications for children. The new service is referred to as “collaborative psychiatric consultation” and is based on pilot projects that have been shown to improve quality of care and save money.

      Many features of the contract were based on recommendations from the Children’s Psychiatric Consultation Protocols Workgroup. The two-year state and federal investment of $1.7 million in the program is expected to be completely offset by lowered costs for inpatient hospitalizations and medications in the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program—the state's version of the state-federal Medicaid public health insurance program. Use of the service will be required for Medical Assistance fee-for-service payment for certain psychotropic medications, although all Minnesota physicians will be encouraged to use the service on a voluntary basis.

      While developing this service, DHS sought input from pediatricians, family practice physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, families, advocates, school staff and many others who care for children and youth with mental health needs. The contract with the Mayo Clinic integrates many of the suggestions that DHS received from this broad range of stakeholders.

      The goals of the new service are to:

      • Improve the quality of mental health treatment by encouraging the use of evidence-based treatments in addition to or in place of medication where appropriate.

      • Improve access and quality of care by making more efficient use of both primary care and specialty mental health services.

      • Improve collaboration between primary care and behavioral health services.

      Along with delivering high quality and effective mental health services for Minnesota children, the initiative will also build a system that offers necessary support for Minnesota’s primary care providers. “For the first time in the state’s history, this new program will enable child psychiatrists and social workers across leading health care systems to function as an integrated team,” said Peter Jensen, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Mayo Clinic who will lead the new statewide effort. “We’re truly working together to help Minnesota’s primary care physicians deliver quality healthcare to their children with mental health needs.”

      You can read more about the new effort by DHS through the following links:

      Pioneer Press Article:
      MPR article: