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Rural Health Information Hub

Lac qui Parle 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, Lac qui Parle Behavioral Health Collaboration received a grant to implement behavioral health and primary care integration. LqPBHC's program is implementing a variety of evidence-based programs and strategies including a primary care coordination model and evidence-based trainings focused on behavioral health. One example of an available training is Mental Health First Aid for adults and youth. A goal of the strategic initiative is also to implement a shared-release of information, meaning that if a patient sees one of the providers in the network, their healthcare information could be shared with another network provider seen at an alternative location. This is a promising practice to improve communication and coordination between providers. 22 individuals attended LqPBHC's strategic planning event, including 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.

    Some of these promising practices are modeled off of 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. The resources needed for this program include training for all staff members. Some of the considerations for LqPBHC include how to staff new positions and bill insurance for these new roles. LqPBHC hopes to provide new infrastructure for health information exchange because the network currently uses 3 different systems to store health information. Financial constraints were the biggest barrier to program implementation.

    Providers in the network's hospitals have been working on 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. Recently, LqPHN set up a Balanced Scorecard with the National Rural Health Research Center in Duluth as part of its evaluation plan.

Models represented by this program: