Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services - July 2019 newsletter

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Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services

Quarterly newsletter

July 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 behavioral health home services providers

On May 13, Accend Services, Inc., joined the list of certified BHH services providers, bringing the total number of locations to 34.

Legislative changes

In spring 2019, the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP) co-sponsored a bill to bring forward proposed changes to BHH services policy. The legislative proposal contained changes to strengthen the existing framework of BHH services, to support the capacity of BHH services providers and to increase access to services. Much of the proposal was adopted by the State legislature. Please note, the legislative changes will be effective upon federal approval of the state plan amendment. DHS will submit the federally required state plan amendment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and will update BHH services providers regarding all related changes once CMS approves the amendment. We have outlined the key changes in a memo sent to all BHH services authorized representatives. If you would like a copy of the memo, please contact

New diagnosis codes permitted for behavioral health home services

Beginning June 1, 2019, Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) allows the use of certain unspecified and R diagnosis codes for mental, behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders when billing up to 10 non-intensive outpatient mental health sessions, as well as up to 10 behavioral health home services claims. More information about this change is on the MHCP provider news and updates webpage. The updated mental health diagnostic code ranges list is in the provider manual online.

Regional interagency learning events: Leadership and Organizing in Action

This year, two regional events brought together Minnesota Health Care Homes (HCH), Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) and Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services providers to network with each other and participate in a collaborative learning opportunity — the first on May 15 in Marshall and the second on June 4 in Duluth. Stratis Health led these “Leadership and Organizing in Action Workshops,” designed to help regional leaders mobilize new stakeholders, deepen relationships with existing stakeholders and accelerate progress on current initiatives. This interactive workshop provided opportunities for participants to:

  • Develop a clear and compelling call to action through the creation of a personal narrative;
  • Practice skills to develop collaborative relationships, create effective coalitions, engage networks to identify and engage potential partners; and
  • Learn techniques to create a strong team structure and practice the development of a shared team purpose and accountability measures.

Thank you again to everyone who attended these regional events. We hope you enjoyed the workshop and the opportunity to connect with each other! The Minnesota Departments of Health and Human Services are planning various joint collaborative learning experiences and opportunities for fall 2019 and 2020. Stay tuned for information on these upcoming events!

BHH services provider spotlight




Highlights from the front lines


Natalis Outcomes

Natalis Outcomes

Natalis Outcomes opened in July 2016 with the single goal of providing behavioral health home services. This means they depend on external providers for the majority of referrals to their program. Peter Hoistad, the director of outreach and intake services, spoke with DHS staff about how Natalis staff address hurdles related to dependence on external referrals. According to Peter, staff have identified ways to streamline referral processing, increase and improve partnerships with referral sources, and reach people who move frequently and who are without a home.

One of the biggest challenges is serving individuals who move often. Situations involving unstable housing or homelessness make it difficult to complete diagnostic assessments (DA) with people who want to receive services. Fortunately, Natalis’ founder and owner is a licensed psychologist who has flexibility to complete DAs when they are needed. The organization also has multiple contracts with mental health professionals who can complete DAs. These partnerships also allow Natalis to meet individuals where it is more convenient for them to complete the DA.

Additionally, Natalis has worked hard to streamline their referral process to make it as simple as possible for agencies to work with them. They created an online referral form that can be submitted via their website, fax, or phone and is automatically emailed to their intake specialist. Through their streamlining efforts, they have also strengthened their documentation process for intakes.

Peter also explained how Natalis approaches potential partners to help increase and maintain referrals. It starts with initiating contact with a director or program manager at a potential referring agency. He provides an explanation of BHH services, how the program helps people and how a partnership with Natalis benefits everyone involved. Once Peter makes a connection with another agency, he may request to explain the service and the potential benefits to individuals who may be eligible for the service. He will also offer to speak with staff at the potential referring agency to answer any questions. Natalis has created pamphlets to complement their outreach and help explain the service to potential individuals interested in receiving services and potential partnering organizations.

Natalis partnering agencies include:

  • New Way
  • Salvation Army
  • Twin Cities Rise
  • Natalis Counseling
  • Catholic Charities
  • Pursuit Home-a-Tel

Peter believes the attention Natalis staff have given to increasing access to the program, streamlining their referral process, and partnering with referring agencies has been key to promoting sustainability of their BHH services program.

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.

Upcoming trainings: Tobacco use and recovery among individuals with mental illness or addiction

Dr. Marc Steinberg, clinical psychologist and the director of the Tobacco Research & Intervention lab at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is providing three trainings in August related to tobacco use and recovery among individuals with mental illness or addiction. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be provided at each.

August 20–21, 2019

Dr. Steinberg will provide two identical trainings broadly covering the disparate rates and negative impacts of tobacco use among individuals with mental illness or addiction, as well as effective approaches to assessment and treatment. These trainings will be held in St. Paul at the Wellstone Center.

August 22, 2019                                                                                                

Dr. Steinberg will provide an experiential training focused solely on the use of motivational interviewing for addressing tobacco use with people who have a mental illness or addiction. This is an advanced training for a small number of people. It may be most suitable for people confident about their understanding of tobacco use among individuals with mental illness or addiction and effective approaches to assessment and treatment. Held in St. Paul at the American Lung Association office.

Governor Walz signs bill authorizing statewide services to help people quit tobacco use

Tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable disease in Minnesota, costing the state over $3 billion in tobacco-related excess health care expenses each year.

On May 28, Governor Tim Walz signed a bill authorizing funding for statewide tobacco cessation services. These services will replace QUITPLAN Services, which will end enrollments in March 2020 for both the QUITPLAN Helpline (telephone counseling plus nicotine replacement therapy or NRT) and Individual QUITPLAN Services (NRT starter kits, email and text programs and printed quit guides). Anyone registered for services by that time will be able to finish their program and will receive their NRT, materials, emails and texts.

ClearWay MinnesotaSM, the organization that funds and runs QUITPLAN Services, is a life-limited organization and will close by 2022. As such, all of ClearWay Minnesota’s programs will end.

Learn more about Helping People Quit Tobacco Use.

Minnesota Quitline Network

The Minnesota Quitline Network connects people you serve to the help they need to quit commercial tobacco use. Many of our behavioral health home (BHH) services newsletter updates related to tobacco use come straight from this resource. DHS encourages all BHH service providers to subscribe to the Minnesota Quitline newsletter.

Mark your calendars

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Important dates specific to BHH services providers

Creating Inclusive Programs:  Promoting health equity for racially and ethnically diverse individuals and families

  • Date: Friday, August 16th
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Location: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Auditorium A, 451 Lexington Pkwy N., Saint, St. Paul, MN 55104
  • Preregister on TrainLInk
Creating Inclusive Programs

Learning and resources

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

The Collaborative Care Model: Advancing and Sustaining Integrated Care in Minnesota

  • Date: August 9, 2019
  • Time: 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Location: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway North, Saint Paul, MN
  • Visit the American Psychiatric Association website for more information and to register.

"Wellness in Color" Mental Health Podcast Series

"Wellness in Color" is a podcast series exploring the mental health narratives of cultural communities in Minnesota. It sheds light on the discrimination that community members have faced in seeking information or help in understanding mental illness. Spearheaded by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) — Minnesota's Multicultural Advisory Board, a group of young adults whose goal is to reach their collective communities through positive reflections on wellness — the podcast will air biweekly from May through September 2019. Its aim: to reshape the cultural language of mental illness by talking about it and reflecting on the important fact that reaching out for help is nothing to be ashamed of. To listen to the podcast and for more information, please visit the NAMI Minnesota website. If you would like to share your story please contact Caroline Ludy at or call 651-645-2948 x135.

New E-Learning: Fundamentals of Care Coordination

HCH is excited to introduce Fundamentals of Care Coordination, a multi-lesson foundations course that covers the principles and practices of effective care coordination. Like other HCH e-learning courses, this course is free and consists of short lessons so you can select topics of interest and complete lessons in manageable chunks of time. HCH practice improvement specialists provided subject matter expertise and resources for the course.

Do you need CEUs? Upon completion of the course and evaluation, you will receive a confirmation of credit hours that you may submit to your licensing board for CEU credit.  

Visit the MDH Learning Center for more information and registration (required). NOTE: To register on the Learning Center, you must first establish a user profile and password.

Improving cultural competency for behavioral health professionals: Free e-learning program

Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals is a FREE e-learning program designed to help behavioral health providers build knowledge and skills related to culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS). Visit the Think Cultural Health website for more information and to register. This program is accredited for licensed drug and alcohol counselors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, and will help you learn how to better respect and respond to your client’s unique cultural and communication needs.

Immigration News 

The Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers (MNACHC) shared important immigration news in their July newsletter with information about upcoming Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions, a helpline and walk-in legal clinics. For complete information, read the Immigration News article under the Regulatory section of the MNACHC July newsletter.

Minnesota now has one number to call for crisis services

As the system rolls out, a landline 800 number will be added for people without cell phones, especially in rural areas. As this effort continues to grow, **Crisis promises to make getting help easier for those in crisis.


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


Ujamaa Place is in need of referrals to their program

DHS staff attended a transitions fair at Minnesota Correctional Facility in Lino Lakes on July 9. Ujamaa Place, one of the exhibitors, is an organization serving young African American men in Saint Paul who are undereducated or have experienced homelessness, mental health issues, chemical health issues, and other barriers. BHH services policy staff at DHS believe that Ujamaa Place could be a positive referral partnership for many BHH services providers. Please visit the Ujamaa Place website to learn more about the Ujamaa Experience and please consider contacting Sam Owiredu at to learn more about how you can develop a referral partnership to better meet the holistic needs of the people you serve.

BHH services provider cohorts

In August 2017, Guild Incorporated, Natalis Outcomes, People Incorporated and Touchstone Mental Health formed a cohort as a means of growing and learning about BHH services. The cohort began meeting officially in November 2017 after leaders from the founding organizations connected to discuss programming, standards, referrals, and other topics. It became clear that a platform to come together regularly would be of great benefit. The reported benefits from this cohort included collaboration, brainstorming strategies, sharing ideas and resources, as well as general support and camaraderie. They continued to meet quarterly to engage in conversation about enrollment, engagement, service provision, barriers, success stories and more.

While the provider cohort does not currently have any meetings planned (due to staff changes and scheduling conflicts), staff at each of the four organizations are considering reconvening. The original cohort is an example of how provider networking, outside of DHS-facilitated gatherings, led to a common-purpose group that promoted the sustainability of the service at each of the involved organizations. DHS strongly encourages other BHH services teams throughout the state to reach out to one another to develop their own cohorts as well.

Has your organization already been involved in the development of a subsequent BHH services provider cohort? If so, BHH services policy staff at DHS would love to hear about it and feature your cohort in an upcoming newsletter! Please contact

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