A new model of mental and chemical health care is now available in northwestern Minnesota, and today Minnesota Department of Human Services Assistant Commissioner Claire Wilson toured the clinic, met with staff and community leaders and got to see first-hand how Northwestern Mental Health Center is breaking new ground.
As of July 1, Northwestern Mental Health Center, which serves Kittson, Marshall, Red Lake, Polk, Norman and Mahnomen counties, is designated as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). CCBHCs are a new pilot program that not only brings together chemical and mental health care, but coordinates a person’s total health and social service needs, including physical health care. In short, CCBHCs serve as a “one-stop-shop” for both adults and children who have trouble otherwise getting the help they need.
“We have to put the needs of people first,” said Wilson, who oversees chemical and mental health services for the state. “By offering a wide range of services, Northwestern Mental Health Center is doing just that.”
In many communities, before CCBHCs, a person with a mental illness would need to contact several different agencies to obtain various services, and rarely can someone obtain both mental health and substance use disorder treatment through the same agency. CCBHCs change that, offering a range of coordinated services such as primary care screening, crisis mental health services and case management in addition to mental and chemical health care.
Minnesota is one of eight states selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to pilot this new model. Locations are in both rural and urban communities from the northwest to the southeast of the state. In addition to Northwestern Mental Health Center, CCBHCs include:
- Northern Pines Mental Health Center, serving Cass, Wadena, Todd, Morrison, Crow Wing and Aikin counties in northcentral Minnesota
- Wilder Mental Health and Wellness, serving Ramsey County in the Twin Cities metro area
- People Incorporated, serving Anoka, Washington, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties in the Twin Cities metro area
- Ramsey County Mental Health Center, serving Ramsey County in the Twin Cities metro area
- Zumbro Valley Health Center, serving Olmsted and Fillmore counties in southeast Minnesota.
For Northwestern Mental Health Center, becoming a CCBHC was a natural extension of its already wide range of services. “We are excited to be able to offer this CCBHC services to our community,” says Shauna Reitmeier, CEO of Northwestern Mental Health Center. “We truly believe this is the future of mental and substance use disorder care.”
“We are appreciative that Northwestern Mental Health Center stepped up to take on this pilot program,” Wilson added. “Northwestern Mental Health Center was chosen because we knew they had both the ability and desire to lead the way in this important new way of offering services.”
As a CCBHC, Northwestern Mental Health Center is able to provide a wide range of services and, by extension, make sure people are getting the right care at the right time. People who use CCBHCs may receive:
- Outpatient mental health and substance use services
- Primary care screening and monitoring
- Behavioral health screening, assessment and diagnosis, including risk management
- Psychiatric rehabilitation services
- Crisis mental health services, including 24-hour mobile crisis teams, emergency crisis intervention services and crisis stabilization
- Patient-centered treatment planning
- Targeted case management
- Peer and family support
- Services for members of the armed forces and veterans
- Connections with other providers.
To access services at a CCBHC, a person can contact the clinic directly or talk to their service provider.
The CCBHCs are the culmination of an extensive planning process. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded planning grants to 24 states to begin establishing systems and preparing applications to participate in the pilot program. At the end of the grant, eight states were selected, including Minnesota. The two-year demonstration project is funded until July 2019.