Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services - quarterly newsletter

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Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services

Quarterly newsletter

January 2019

In this issue:

This newsletter has been sent to all authorized representatives on each BHH services team. Please forward to other BHH services staff at your organization.

BHH services provider spotlight




Highlights from the front lines


House of Opportunity

The Department of Human Services (DHS) certified House of Opportunity as a BHH services provider in May 2018. House of Opportunity was founded to serve individuals with serious mental illness, substance use disorders and trauma histories, and provides care that is specialized and trauma-informed. House of Opportunity serves primarily Somali and East African immigrants and descendants and utilizes practitioners that are members of the community served. House of Opportunity provides the following services: outpatient substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, adult rehabilitative mental health services (ARMHS), psychotherapy and now BHH services. House of Opportunity has specific goals to (1) provide evidence-based and culturally specific care coordination services, (2) improve health outcomes for people served by increasing access and engagement in community mental health, chemical health, primary care and social services and (3) increase awareness and decrease stigma of mental illness in the local Somali and East African community. House of Opportunity is working to not only educate the community about mental illness and substance use disorder to help reduce stigma but also educate providers about Somali and East African cultural norms to help inform culturally-appropriate treatment services. And at the heart of services House of Opportunity provides, is a commitment to rebuilding healthy relationships with family and other supports to create sustainable networks around the people being served.

Dr. Maria Svetaz from Aquí Para Ti

Dr. Maria Veronica Svetaz, MD MPH, is the director at Aquí Para Ti and an integral member of their BHH services team. Over the past two years, Dr. Svetaz has worked diligently on the following, complimentary projects:

Position paper

The first piece is a position paper for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine that Dr. Svetaz led as the Society Diversity Committee Chair. Titled, Racism and Its Harmful Effects on Nondominant Racial-Ethnic Youth and Youth-Serving Providers: A Call to Action for Organizational Change, this position paper was born as a response to the sharp international and national increase in nationalism and hate crimes. The paper intends to highlight the chronic and toxic effect that racism has on all of us, but mainly on how virulent racism is during times of adolescence, where identity formation is vital. It also sheds light on the vicarious trauma effect that occurs with diverse non-dominant racial-ethnic providers who serve diverse youth. The whole position is a call for organizational action where anyone, at any organization, could use it as a blueprint to start deconstructing the effects of racism in their institution. You can find Dr. Svetaz’s position paper on the Journal of Adolescent Health website.


If the position paper is the WHY we need to implement changes and WHAT we need to change, this book is the HOW. Titled, Promoting Health Equity Among Racially and Ethnically Diverse Adolescents: A Practical Guide (Springer, 2019), Dr. Maria Svetaz is one of its editors, along with Dr. Lisa Barkley and Veenod Chulani. More information about the book is available on the Springer website.

Presentation at DHS

As part of the BHH services 2019 learning plan, the Community and Care Integration Reform division at DHS is planning to host a training event around Dr. Svetaz’s paper and book. Her presentation is tentatively scheduled for July 2019. DHS will provide information about registration to BHH services providers at a later date.

Incorporating tobacco treatment

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Information related to the use of commercial tobacco products and how to help people address their use of them. 


Did you know that, according to the American Lung Association, tobacco use is the number one cause of death in people with mental illness? Not only that, but it affects people with mental illness at alarmingly disparate rates compared to the general population. This section will provide ongoing information related to tobacco and other nicotine products and how to help people address their use of them.

New resources for mental health and substance use disorder professionals

Please check out the latest resources regarding tobacco use amongst individuals with mental illness or substance use disorders. The latest resources include three helpful handouts related to tobacco-free grounds and tobacco treatment services. You can find the resources on the American Lung Association website.

QUITPLAN Services Quit Guide & Ally Guide

The QUITPLAN Services Quit Guide is a free resource for people who are trying to quit and is available to download or by mail. The guide includes facts about what to do at each step along the quitting process. Also available is an Ally Guide for family and friends who are trying to help someone quit. You can find both guides on the Quitplan website.

New CDC fact sheet: Tobacco Use and Quitting Among Individuals with Behavioral Health Conditions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published an in-depth factsheet about tobacco use and quitting among individuals with behavioral health conditions.

Coming Soon! How to address tobacco use in Minnesota’s mental health and substance use disorder services: Tips from the field

The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest developed and facilitated a Leadership Academy Collaborative (LAC) to bring together various healthcare stakeholders within Minnesota and collaborate on a shared vision to reduce commercial tobacco use among people living with mental illness or substance use disorder. This guide is the outcome of a specific workgroup within the LAC whose goal was to create a Minnesota based resource designed for agencies and systems serving people with mental illness and substance use disorders to treat tobacco use. Information in the guide is intended for administrators and direct service providers but may also be appropriate for primary care and other health care providers. An estimated release date for this guide is early 2019, stay tuned for more information!! Any specific questions about the development of this guide may be directed to Sophie Burnevik at

Learning and resources

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Information on upcoming learning opportunities, available resources, and important dates to remember.


Save the date for Health Care Homes Learning Days 2019: Redefining Health. Redesigning Care.

This year’s conference features one and a half days of learning, including interactive breakout sessions, in depth workshops, exciting guest speakers, the HCH Innovation Awards, exhibits, and ample opportunity for networking.  Make plans to join us:

  • Tuesday April 9, 2019:  Pre Conference Workshops
  • Wednesday April 10, 2019:  Full Day Conference
  • University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center
  • St. Paul, Minnesota

Registration opens in January 2019.  Watch for updates in the LEARN bulletin and on the HCH website.

Improving coordination between BHH services providers and managed care organizations

BHH services providers and managed care organizations are required to work together on behalf of the individuals they serve. On November 2, 2018, DHS hosted a conversation between BHH services providers and representatives from MCOs to discuss what has been working well, what has been challenging, and to brainstorm about possible solutions.  You can find a pdf summary of that discussion on the DHS website, Forms and resources for certified BHH services providers’ page.

DHS strongly encourages BHH services providers to reach out to the BHH contacts at the MCOs to foster relationships. Developing these relationships is important for all the following reasons:

  • Identify successes, challenges and developing solutions that fit the needs of the provider and MCO
  • Develop outreach and recruitment opportunities for BHH providers
  • Gain a better understanding of how to maximize the benefits of MCO care coordination and BHH services for shared clients

DHS will continue to look for opportunities to bring BHH services providers together with representatives from Minnesota’s Medicaid MCOs. 

Mark your calendars

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Important dates specific to BHH services providers

Population Health Management series webinar #3

This webinar will include stories from our BHH services providers about their experiences implementing population health management into their processes and workflows. The webinar will be held February 26, 2019, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. DHS will send an email invitation with additional details about this webinar to the authorized representative(s) listed for each BHH services team. Please contact Megan Lokken at with any questions.

Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services providers spring learning workshop

DHS will hold a three-hour interactive workshop for BHH services providers during the Minnesota Health Care Homes 2019 Learning Days event. This workshop will focus around the BHH services interim evaluation findings. Wilder Research will present an overview of the findings and then several BHH services providers will share their learnings related to tracking referrals. BHH services providers will describe how they developed their process for tracking referrals, how they addressed challenges, and include examples of how their process for tracking referrals impacts BHH services delivery. The workshop format will encourage frequent interactions between participants in order to learn and hear from each other. There will be ample time for BHH services providers to connect and network with each other. The workshop will last from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus. Please hold this date and time on your calendars. DHS will provide information about registration to BHH services providers at a later date.

Partnering to better coordinate care & increase referrals

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Building collaborative relationships with other providers to address whole-person care & promote service sustainability


Community meetings on primary care

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Health Care Homes (HCH) program, would like to hear ideas from you and others in the community about primary care services and population health. Please join us to share ideas on how the Health Care Homes (HCH) program and primary care can improve health in Minnesota.

Discussion will focus on:

  • Strengthening clinic-community partnerships and care integration
  • Addressing social determinants of health needs
  • Improving health equity

HCH will use comments and input from the meeting to develop updates to the standards for Health Care Home certification, Minnesota’s patient centered medical home model.

Please visit the Health Care Homes website for more information about the program.

Visit the HCH Learning Collaborative for details on how to register for your preferred event in the Learning Center. Currently scheduled events include:

Thursday, January 24, 2019

8:30-10:30 a.m.

Life Source

Missy/Misso Rooms

2225 West River Road North

Minneapolis, MN 55411

Register: MDH Learning Center

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

8:30-10:30 a.m.

Maplewood Community Center

Banquet Room C

2100 White Bear Ave.

Maplewood, MN 55109

Register: MDH Learning Center

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

8:30-10:30 a.m.

Eagan Community Center

South Oaks Room

1501 Central Pkwy.

Eagan, MN 55121

Register: MDH Learning Center

Additional events will be planned in Fergus Falls, St. Cloud, Mankato and Duluth.

Behavioral health TeleECHO

Beginning March 5, 2019, and running weekly on Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CT, the Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), will offer case-based clinical discussions focused on screening for and treating alcohol use disorder.

This might also be an opportunity to connect with community partners and learn to utilize your knowledge of screening and treating alcohol use disorder so that you can become a resource for your practice and community.

Contact Jenni Gile at for more information.

BHH services policy team welcomes a new member!

Michaelyn Bruer is the newest member of the BHH services policy team within the Community and Care Integration Reform division at DHS. Her first day was Jan. 9, 2019. DHS is very excited to have her on board!

Contact us:

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