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Morrison County Accountable Community for Health

  • Need: To combat prescription drug misuse in rural Morrison County, Minnesota.
  • Intervention: The Morrison County ACH brings together primary care, social services, law enforcement, and other partners to make sure that patients receive treatment and support.
  • Results: One pharmacy saw a 40% reduction in the number of prescribed opioids, and the ACH was able to taper 684 patients off opioids completely.


In 2011 and 2012, CHI St. Gabriel's Health staff in rural Little Falls, Minnesota, began noticing an increase in opioid use among patients – both for medical needs and misuse. In addition, prescription drugs were the most common reason for emergency department admissions.

To combat prescription drug misuse, Morrison County formed an Accountable Community for Health (ACH), part of a statewide effort to bring together partners like local public health boards, social services, law enforcement, and primary care through formal business agreements and service integration.

The Morrison County ACH is a partnership of:

  • CHI St. Gabriel's Health
  • Coborn's Pharmacy
  • Public Health – Morrison County
  • Social Services – Morrison County
  • South Country Health Alliance
  • Stand Up 4 U coalition

The project received funding from a State Innovation Model Grant.

Services offered

Patients contact the clinic if they need help overcoming their opioid use disorder. Patients are then scheduled to meet with Controlled Substance Care Team members, who work to educate the patients on available community resources such as mental health services and job assistance. If the patient qualifies, medication-assisted treatment is offered to the patient as part of their recovery.

While the Controlled Substance Care Team works with individuals, the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force meets monthly to talk about issues within the community. This taskforce has representatives from the Care Team, the hospital, pharmacies, the mental health center, law enforcement, Morrison County departments, and other community members.

In addition, the Morrison County ACH began a buprenorphine and naloxone program to treat patients with an opioid use disorder.

In 2017, the project received a grant to start a Project ECHO Hub, a collaborative model of medical education and care management. CHI St. Gabriel's Health Project ECHO physicians have had up to 75 sites listening and they have used it for consultation and education. The care team and physicians also mentor other communities and helped them receive grants to replicate their project.


Through data provided by one pharmacy, there has been a 40% decrease in the number of narcotic pills entering the community from that pharmacy. Since the inception of the project, that community's clinic has tapered 684 patients off narcotics.

According to a survey of 83 patients receiving medication-assisted treatment from the clinic, patients spent an average of 56.7 days in jail throughout Minnesota prior to medication-assisted treatment. After consistently receiving medication-assisted treatment, they now have spent an average of 4.7 days in jail.

There are 44 new rural providers offering medication-assisted treatment and over 400 patients receiving care and treatment for their substance use disorder.

In 2016, the Morrison County ACH received a Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In 2017, the ACH won an American Hospital NOVA Award.


Project coordinators are working to obtain additional funding to sustain the ACH, since much of the work is not currently reimbursable by third-party payers.


Bring together existing agencies in the community, and find leaders in the medical community who will champion your cause. You will also need some type of funding support to start, since it can be a struggle to get third-party reimbursement for this program.

Project coordinators have completed a manual for other rural communities to replicate this work. This manual is available by contacting Katie Stangl at

Contact Information

Brad Vold, Public Health/Social Services Director
Morrison County

Criminal justice system
Integrated service delivery
Networking and collaboration
Prescription drug misuse

States served

Date added
August 2, 2017

Date updated or reviewed
August 12, 2020

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2020. Morrison County Accountable Community for Health [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: [Accessed 14 June 2021]

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.