Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services - April 2019 newsletter

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Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services

Quarterly newsletter

April 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.

Quarterly updates

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News, programmatic updates, and useful information.

Newly certified BHH services providers:

  • Fairview Mesaba Clinic – Nashwauk
  • Fairview Mesaba Clinic – Mountain Iron
  • Metro Care Human Services


  • In January, DHS staff had the opportunity to present to Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) policy staff about BHH services.
  • This led to another opportunity where BHH services team members Amber Michels and Katie Dinter from People Incorporated joined DHS staff for a presentation to the DHS Employment Services (ES) Advisory about BHH services. The goal of the presentation was to inform and raise awareness of BHH services among ES providers, who work directly with individuals receiving services through the MFIP and may be eligible for BHH services.
  • In March, staff from Hennepin Healthcare presented about BHH services at the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) annual meeting in Washington D.C. The staff included Dr. Maria Veronica Svetez, Ursula Reynoso, Dora Palma, Isabel Duran-Graybow and Dr. Diego Garcia-Huidobro from Aqui Para Ti, Whittier Clinic. DHS staff presented with the Hennepin Healthcare team as they described how they have been able to utilize BHH services in delivering comprehensive care for Latino adolescent youth and their families. The presentation provided the opportunity for attendees to reflect on how this model could be implemented in their local practice clinic.

Annual spring learning day

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BHH services learning days event held April 9, 2019

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2019 BHH services spring learning event. This year, Kristin Dillon from Amherst H. Wilder Foundation Research gave an overview of the BHH services interim evaluation findings. Representatives from four BHH services providers (Vail Place, Western Mental Health Center, Northern Pines Mental Health Center and Fairview Health Services) described how they developed their process for tracking referrals, how they address challenges, and provided examples of how their referral tracking process impacts BHH services delivery.

The learning event provided time for BHH services providers to discuss how they can use the evaluation results to support ongoing implementation of BHH services. To facilitate networking between BHH Services providers, there were opportunities for discussion in both small and large groups.

We hope these discussions were useful in allowing you the opportunity to connect with each other and share ideas. DHS staff will follow up with a summary of how DHS plans to address the questions and feedback received.

BHH services provider spotlight




Highlights from the front lines


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Tobacco-free Vail Place, starting April 1, 2019 (no foolin’!)

Vail Place has been a well-respected mental health community resource in the Twin Cities for the past 37 years, and each year provides services to approximately 2,500 people living with serious mental illnesses.

Vail Place has a whole-person approach promoting what the World Health Organization calls complete physical, mental and social well-being. Vail Place currently offers the following programs:

  • Two clubhouse model community support programs
  • Three targeted case management teams, including a rapid access intake team for our North Memorial Health (NMH) partner
  • Vail Connect, a short-term service available to NMH patients which helps individuals obtain mental or medical services, resources, support, etc.
  • Vail in the Park, an apartment building that provides low-cost, permanent, supportive housing
  • Vail House, a 23 bed group residential housing facility for adults with mental illness and substance use disorders
  • Site-based supportive housing options
  • Vail Care, our BHH services program

The whole health approach that Vail Place weaves into their programs was the motivation for the decision to become a tobacco-free organization. In 2018, the Vail Place leadership team met with representatives from the American Lung Association who developed the Leadership Academy Collaborative with funding through the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN. The Leadership Academy was engaged with several other community mental health programs who have since adopted tobacco-free grounds policies. That day, Vail Place’s leadership team unanimously decided to take this important step! The fact that tobacco is the number one killer for people living with mental illnesses was one they couldn’t ignore. Incorporating tobacco-free grounds is one way that programs can help staff and program participants (members, clients and residents) who may want to quit using tobacco. Research shows that people living with mental illness want to quit as much or more than people who don’t have mental illness. Vail Place, by implementing this policy, is taking steps to improve the health of staff and participants.

The main challenge to implementing this policy was getting people on board to understand why it was important to do. People who use tobacco, as well as people who don’t, struggled with the impending change. Vail Place worked to ensure there was good communication about the “why” and the “how” related to this change. Tobacco-free committees were established and staff and participants across the agency became involved in the efforts to make this a reality. The audiovisual (AV) club at the clubhouse helped with communication efforts by developing short videos for our website, social media and training efforts.

Vail Place was surprised at how many members were happy about the change. It was not uncommon to hear a clubhouse member say, “I’m so excited to be able to sit in the gazebo and not be bothered by tobacco smoke!” Staff members reported that they felt supported when they asked individuals to not smoke during home visits. Vail Place was very fortunate to have Julie Plante, BHH services integration specialist, to create and develop tobacco-free trainings for all staff and members. The training highlighted the social justice impact for people with mental illnesses (as they have been historically targeted by tobacco companies), it provided helpful ways to support individuals who want to reduce or stop smoking, and the training evaluation reported excellent ratings!

Vail Care BHH services works with individuals on a variety of goals - including tobacco goals. For example, the Vail Care team worked with “Carol” who smoked for 40 years, had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and identified her main concern as “breathing.” Staff worked with her to identify the reason behind her tobacco use and helped her refocus. Within six months, ”Carol” quit smoking and now, nearly a year later, she has improved health outcomes and is enjoying taking walks with her grandchildren! Read more about Carol's journey on the Vail Place website.

The goal of tobacco-free policies is to promote an environment that aligns with Vail Place’s mission to foster hope, health and recovery for people living with mental illness. The goal is not to single out or judge people who use tobacco. “We place a high value on supporting all our staff who work hard every day to support our participants. We also value supporting environments that offer clean air for everyone and address the leading cause of preventable addiction, disease and death.” Tobacco-free grounds policies are not against people who smoke, they are about promoting healthy environments for everyone. If organizations are considering a tobacco-free policy, Vail Place encourages them to reach out to the American Lung Association and attend upcoming Leadership Academy Collaborative meetings. For more information, contact

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 provides information related to commercial tobacco products and how to help people address their use of them.

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 to collaborate on a shared vision to reduce commercial tobacco use among people living with mental illness or substance use disorder. BHH services staff member, Sophie Burnevik, participated in the Leadership Academy Collaborative and as part of a workgroup, helped lead the development of the guide: How to Address Tobacco Use in Minnesota's Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services: TIPS FROM THE FIELD. The guide has now been published and is available for use. This guide was created to serve as a Minnesota-based resource designed for agencies and systems serving people with mental illness and substance use disorders to treat tobacco use. If you have questions, contact Sophie Burnevik at


QUITPLAN® Services in Minnesota

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NAMI Minnesota seeks mental health professionals to pilot online quit smoking training

While Minnesota, and the nation, have seen significant declines in smoking over the past decade, it continues to be the leading cause of death and disease for people living with mental illnesses. Compared to just 14.4 percent of all Minnesotans, 31.6 percent of Minnesotans with mental illnesses smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people in the United States with a mental illness purchase 40 percent of all cigarettes sold.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Minnesota is looking for mental health professionals to pilot an online training focused on smoking cessation and mental illness. The training describes smoking cessation strategies for mental health providers. It also helps address smoking stigma and encourage behavior change among clients. This online training also highlights the perspectives of individuals who are living with a mental illness and their journey towards smoking cessation. This three-hour long training includes four post-evaluation surveys, each about three minutes in length.

If you are a mental health provider and interested in piloting this training, send an email to Hayley Smith (

NAMI Minnesota is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults living with mental illnesses and their families. For the past five years, NAMI Minnesota has worked to help Minnesota progress in the area of tobacco prevention and control. Learn more about NAMI Minnesota at


Learning and resources

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Information on upcoming learning opportunities and available resources that may be helpful for BHH services providers.

Commentary: Challenges for younger adults with diabetes

The March/April 2019 issue of Minnesota Medicine Magazine features the article, Diabetes management, highlighting the need for a customized approach in supporting individuals ages 18-44 with managing their diabetes. Health care homes and BHH services are included as models that can help address the unique challenges these individuals face. The article is co-authored by Rozalina G. McCoy, Renee S.M. Kidney, Danette Holznagel and two members of our BHH services DHS staff; Tina Peters and Vimbai Madzura.

MN Department of Health, Mental Well-Being and Resilience Learning Community

The MN Department of Health (MDH) sponsors a monthly learning community, open to anyone interested in building resiliency and promoting mental well-being. April’s meeting topic will focus on the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP): An evidence-based model for prevention and wellness. For additional details and to register, visit the Mental Well-Being & Resilience Learning Community 2019 webpage.

When: The last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is April 30, 2019.

Where: The format is an interactive monthly statewide webinar and local discussion. Visit the registration page for a list of host sites.

Minnesota’s alcohol use: State of the state - three-part webinar series

Stratis Health, as part of Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network, is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Human Services - Behavioral Health Division to bring you a 3-part webinar series on alcohol use in Minnesota and its effect on the 2018 national health rankings. Discover effective strategies to implement alcohol screening and interventions in your practice and how to overcome barriers. Learn how Minnesota is addressing alcohol consumption as part of the Substance Use Disorder Reform. Register for this free series at

When: May 1, May 14 and May 29, 2019

Conference: MN Community Health Worker Alliance statewide conference

The Annual Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance statewide conference features national and state speakers and brings together community health workers, supervisors, educators, providers, payers, policy makers and many others from across the state for a day of learning, exchange, networking and charting action on next-stage work. For full details and to register, visit the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance website.

When: May 2, 2019

Where: MN Landscape Arboretum

Tobacco Use and Recovery Among Individuals with Mental Illness or Addiction*

A day of learning with Dr. Jill Williams, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Register online at the American Lung Association website. 

When: May 3, 2019

Where: Miller Dwan Auditorium, Duluth, MN

*BHH services providers are welcome to attend this training in Duluth. However, please note that DHS is partnering with the American Lung Association of MN, to co-sponsor the same training featuring by Dr. Marc Steinberg in August in the Metro area specifically for BHH services providers.

Mark your calendars

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Important dates specific to BHH services providers

Regional events: Leadership and Organizing in Action workshops

Join Health care homes (HCH) providers, BHH services providers, community members and stakeholders who are leading change to serve the whole person across primary care, behavioral health and social services components through integrated care. These workshops will help participants understand how to organize and mobilize partners and stakeholders who have an interest in defining a shared vision, and action plan to strengthen collaboration to engage others in population health and quality improvement. Dates and locations:

  • May 15, 2019, Marshall-Lyon County Library, Marshall, MN
  • June 4, 2019, St. Louis County Public Works Building, Duluth, MN

Register online to attend a regional event.

Conference: Transforming Care and Experience for Children with Health Complexity

This conference is for care coordinators, specialists, parents, pediatricians, primary care physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and other interested health care professionals. The overall conference goal is to advance the system of comprehensive, family-centered care coordination that supports families of children who have complex conditions. For full conference details and to register, visit the Gillette Children's website.

When: June 20, 2019

Where: Rice Park Event Center, St Paul, MN

Promoting health equity among racially and ethnically diverse adolescents and creating inclusive programs

Join us for a presentation by Dr. Maria Veronica Svetaz, a family practice and adolescent health physician with Hennepin Healthcare and Medical Director of Aqui Para Ti.

Dr. Svetaz will present on the position paper: Racism and Its Harmful Effects on Nondominant Racial-Ethnic Youth and Youth-Serving Providers: A Call to Action for Organizational Change and how organizations can create inclusive programs for the individuals they serve.

When: July 25, 2019

Where: DHS Lafayette Building, St Paul, MN

Tobacco Use and Recovery Among Individuals with Mental Illness or Addiction conference

A day of learning co-sponsored with the American Lung Association of MN featuring Dr. Marc Steinberg, clinical psychologist and the director of the Tobacco Research & Intervention lab at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Registration information will be available closer to the date.

When: August 20, 2019

Where: Wellstone Center, St Paul, MN

Partnering to better coordinate care & increase referrals

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We are asking for your help to update our BHH services contacts.


We would like to ensure that there is a staff person assigned to each of the three areas listed here so we can effectively direct our communication efforts to the appropriate contact. Please review this information, and if you have questions or updates, contact Megan Lokken at 651.431.2512 or Thank you!

BHH services team member roles:

  • Authorized representative:
    • This person must be authorized to accept communication on behalf of the BHH services provider. It is the responsibility of the authorized representative to distribute any mail and all communication received from DHS as needed and provide a response within stated timelines, when requested.
  • Partner portal lead:
    • This person is responsible for making sure BHH services provider staff have access to the partner portal by emailing Megan Lokken and requesting login credentials for those individuals. This person will also be responsible for letting DHS staff know when a partner portal login needs to be deactivated due to staff changes.
  • Training lead:
    • Communication will go out to BHH services certified providers about upcoming BHH learning events and other educational opportunities that may be of interest to your organization. The person or people serving as the main contact(s) for BHH services learning activities will be responsible to 1) distribute information about learning opportunities to all BHH services team members at your organization, 2) ensure at least one BHH services team member attends BHH services learning events, and 3) follow up with DHS learning staff as requested.

Contact us:

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