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Rural Health Information Hub

Lac qui Parle Health Network (now River Valley Health Network)

  • Project Title: Lac qui Parle Behavioral Health Collaborative
  • Grant Period: 2017-2018
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Bernice Robinson, Executive Director of Lac qui Parle Health Network (LqPHN) and Ashley Kjos, CEO of Woodland Centers
  • Location: Madison, MN, Appleton, MN, and Dawson, MN
  • Program Overview: In July 2017, the Lac qui Parle Health Network (now River Valley Health Network) received a grant to implement behavioral health and primary care integration. The Lac qui Parle Behavioral Health Collaborative (LqPBHC) uses evidence-based strategies, including care coordination and behavioral health trainings such as Mental Health First Aid. The program also uses promising practices, including a shared release of information. This means a provider can share a patient's healthcare information with another network provider at an alternative location. This is a promising practice to improve communication and coordination between providers. Some promising practices are modeled on the Behavioral Health Network in Ely, Minnesota, which provided LqPBHC with a model for care coordination in a primary care setting with the goal of reducing hospitalizations and improving care.

    Providers in the network's hospitals have been developing guidelines for using the PHQ-9, a depression-screening tool, including criteria for when and to whom providers should refer individuals, depending on the patient's score. These guidelines will help improve flow and access to the mental health center. Care coordinators will work with primary care and behavioral health providers and the patient to support and coordinate the patient's care plan. LqPBHC set up a Balanced Scorecard with the National Rural Health Research Center in Duluth as part of its evaluation plan.

    LqPBHC hosts strategic planning events, which bring together leaders from the hospitals, clinics, public health leaders, human service directors in two counties, a sheriff, superintendents from two local schools, a community action agency, and an EMS group made up of fire departments and ambulances. The purpose of the strategic planning events is to promote primary care and behavioral health collaboration, communication, and information sharing through strategic planning processes and community health assessments.

Models represented by this program: