Minnesota Hospital Association


May 26, 2021

Deliberate collaboration with partners helps enhance access to mental health services

This story is featured in MHA's community benefit report.

St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee strives to live its mission and bring its values to life in the community through listening, which is key to engagement with people, organizations and partners surrounding health issues of concern identified through the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment. For the past several years, mental health and related needs were identified as top health priorities.

To help improve access to mental health services, St. Francis added community partners to its Mental Health Committee, which includes St. Francis, Allina Health and HealthPartners Park Nicollet leaders, as well as experts from community mental health and crisis agencies/providers, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Mental Health Clinic and Scott County Public Health.

Organized by Monte Johnson, M.D., St. Francis’ vice president of medical affairs, the committee allows the opportunity to listen to experienced, external voices when developing organizational capacity, and confirms the hospital’s responses are driven by actual community needs. The variety of community partners invited into this internal work helps St. Francis collaborate deliberately and ensures work is informed by community mental health professionals.

Using information gathered from area experts, St. Francis introduced multiple programs aiming to provide needed services in the community:

  • The introduction of Allina Health assessment and referral services to the hospital’s emergency department increased the number of patients receiving timely assessments and referrals to appropriate services within the community.
  • St. Francis provides mental health services to patients virtually via telehealth. In partnership with BHSI, a local provider, in-person psychology consultation is also available for appropriate patients on St. Francis’ inpatient units.
  • St. Francis convenes a mental health and addiction crisis response work group across sectors to drive partnership among all crisis-related community agencies and create better outcomes for community members. The collaborative has proven even more important during COVID, ensuring efforts are not duplicated within our community.

Community partners identified a need for increased access to local intensive residential treatment services. St. Francis’ leadership, including Monte Johnson, M.D., strongly supported Guild Inc.’s Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) project in Savage, Minnesota, offering advocacy by way of a letter to state officials encouraging capital investment funding for the project, along with a $100,000 charitable donation toward the IRTS facility from St. Francis.