Minnesota Hospital Association


March 15, 2016

Legislators, hospitals and mental health centers seek funding to improve community-based mental health care

Eight mental health centers would provide "one-stop-shop" for mental health and addiction services   

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP) and the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) stood with legislators from both parties to seek $8.5 million over the next three years to improve community-based mental health and addiction services. The legislation, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, would allow Minnesota to qualify for a federal initiative to expand access to mental health care and substance abuse treatment by investing in community-based treatment centers. Without approved funding this legislative session, Minnesota would be disqualified from the initiative. Governor Dayton included this funding in his supplemental budget released on Tuesday.    

“This legislation has the potential to transform the delivery of mental health services, and being selected as a demonstration state ensures Minnesotans will have even greater access to high-quality, coordinated care,” said Shauna Reitmeier, CEO of Northwestern Mental Health Center and board chair of MACMHP. “This critical funding will keep us on track to improve access, quality and coordination of mental health care by creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ for comprehensive mental health and addiction services.”   

A shortage of mental health and addiction treatment resources is a growing crisis. Across the state, Minnesotans are struggling to access treatment they need in the right care setting as community-based providers struggle to stay open. In 2014, Riverwood Centers closed five clinics and an emergency home-visiting service for people suffering from psychiatric crisis. More than 3,000 patients in five east central Minnesota counties were without access to community mental health services.    

“Improving mental health services is critical to ensuring the health of Minnesota’s communities,” said Dr. Penny Wheeler, president and CEO of Allina Health. “It takes a shared community responsibility to improve mental health care, and if selected by the federal government, Minnesota can be a leader in addressing a growing need within our communities.”   The Excellence Act (SF2549/HF2609) requires Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) to engage in partnerships with a variety of health system partners, including hospitals. This emphasis on partnerships will increase the likelihood that care will be received before a person enters into crisis, lessening the burden on emergency rooms, law enforcement and families, and providing care for the patient in the right care setting. The legislation has bipartisan support, with chief authors Sen. Melissa Wiklund (DFL – Bloomington) and Rep. Deborah Kiel (R – Crookston).   

Eight mental health centers in Minnesota will work toward becoming CCBHCs. Those centers are:   

  • Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Twin Cities metropolitan area 
  • Canvas Health, Twin Cities metropolitan area 
  • Human Development Center, Duluth 
  • Northern Pines Mental Health Center, Brainerd, Little Falls, Long Prairie, Staples and Wadena 
  • Northwestern Mental Health Center, Crookston 
  • People Incorporated Mental Health Services, Twin Cities metropolitan area 
  • Ramsey County Mental Health Center, Twin Cities metropolitan area 
  • Zumbro Valley Health Center, Rochester   

In 2014, Congress enacted the Excellence in Mental Health Act, creating an eight-state demonstration project to test Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature funded the state’s efforts to participate in the demonstration project and Minnesota was selected as one of 24 states to receive a federal planning grant. To qualify as one of the eight demonstration states, Minnesota has until October 2016 to certify at least two providers, establish a prospective payment system for CCBHCs and secure Medicaid payments for CCBHCs during the demonstration period.   

A statewide coalition of organizations recently joined MACMHP and MHA in signing a letter to Governor Dayton asking him to make this funding priority part of his supplemental budget. The letter and list of signers can be found here.

A letter of support from Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Johnson Piper can be found here


MACMHP is the state’s leading professional association for community mental health providers.  The Association exists to improve access to and quality of behavioral health care in Minnesota. For more information, visit www.macmhp.org.   

About MHA
The Minnesota Hospital Association represents Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems, which provide quality care for their patients and meet the needs of their communities.