Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services - October 2019 newsletter

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Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services

Quarterly newsletter

October 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 August 21, Lakewood Health System, Inc., joined the list of certified Behavioral Health Home (BHH) services providers, bringing the total number of locations to 36.

Legislative changes

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has submitted an updated State Plan Amendment (SPA) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The updated SPA contains legislative changes to the BHH services statute that were approved by the Minnesota State Legislature in spring 2019. Once approved, DHS will send out updated policy documents and links, and host a webinar that details all the changes for BHH services providers.

New online BHH services certification

BHH services has a new online application for certification!  Providers interested in applying for certification can find the new web-based system on the DHS BHH services website. DHS will help current BHH services providers create an account in the new system so they can access their certification documents.

Recent training events

Commercial tobacco use and recovery among individuals with mental illness

The Community and Care Integration Reform (CCIR) division at DHS partnered with the American Lung Association (ALA) to host three days of trainings by Dr. Marc Steinberg of Rutgers University. The trainings took place in the metro area on August 20–22.

Dr. Steinberg provided identical introductory trainings on days one and two. The introductory trainings taught attendees about the disparate rates and negative impacts of commercial tobacco use among individuals with mental illness, as well as effective approaches to assessment and treatment. Dr. Steinberg provided an experiential training on day three, focused solely on the use of motivational interviewing for addressing commercial tobacco use with people who have a mental illness.

There were 89 participants across the three days, representing 61 behavioral health organizations. 77% of attendees reported an intent to change how they address tobacco use within their organization after having completed one or more of the trainings. CCIR hopse to partner with ALA in the future to continue increasing the capacity of behavioral health providers to address commercial tobacco use with the people they serve.

Creating Inclusive Programs

On August 16, 2019, Dr. Maria Veronica Svetaz presented on how organizations can develop inclusive programs for the individuals they serve. Following, participants joined a group discussion to reflect on — and identify opportunities to implement — inclusive practices within their organizations. Participants included health care homes providers, BHH services providers, certified community behavioral health home providers, staff from DHS and the Department of Health, and more. This event provided the opportunity to learn and participate in an open discussion about promoting inclusiveness and equity within our work. DHS looks forward to continuing this conversation and supporting provider capacity to offer culturally responsive integrated care.

Dr. Maria Veronica Svetaz

Dr. Maria Veronica Svetaz, a family practice and adolescent health physician with Hennepin Healthcare and Medical Director of Aqui Para Ti, presents to event participants.

Evaluation wrap-up event

The BHH services team at DHS held an implementation evaluation wrap-up event Friday, September 27, at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul. The morning event, attended by a broad group of stakeholders and interested people, included an introduction by Interim Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Blanchard, an overview of BHH services by DHS policy staff, a summary of implementation evaluation results by Kristin Dillon of Wilder Research, and an informative panel of BHH services providers and community partners. The afternoon featured a BHH services provider-only learning event that included a panel presentation by various representatives from state, county, tobacco cessation, and legal resources, followed by a question and answer session. Thank you to all who participated! 

We hope that BHH services teams across the state are taking a few moments to celebrate their accomplishments in the implementation of BHH services. The evaluation results reflect the commitment of BHH services providers across the state to serving individuals and their families. Thank you all for your ongoing work! Evaluation summary documents are on the BHH services webpage under the Stakeholder and Community Engagement header. 

Promoting Wellness after Incarceration

Jason Sole, Criminal Justice Professor at Hamline University and former president of the Minneapolis NAACP, provided a half-day workshop to healthcare providers on October 1, 2019, at the Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) in North Minneapolis. The workshop was offered to BHH services providers, certified community behavioral health clinic (CCBHC) providers and health care home (HCH) providers, as well as all other interested healthcare providers and their community partners. There were 44 attendees from 26 BHH services providers (representing nine different organizations), nine other healthcare providers and nine State of Minnesota employees. Participants were encouraged to:

  • Describe racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in incarceration.
  • Recognize the threat incarceration poses to health equity, including the impacts on children and families.
  • Adjust current practices to incorporate strength-based strategies to increase positive outcomes.

The workshop consisted of three parts:

Part I — Overview of past and current trauma experienced by black, indigenous and people of color and the intersection of that trauma with mass incarceration.

Part II — Jason's personal story of racial inequities, incarceration, resiliency and perseverance.

Part III — Effective strategies to promote wellness after incarceration with an overarching call-to-action to promote health equity for all marginalized people.

It was an honor for DHS staff to share in this learning opportunity, on Dakota land, with everyone who attended.

BHH services provider spotlight




Highlights from the front lines


Guild Incorporated

Guild Incorporated

The following is written by Barbara Kaiser, certified peer specialist on Guild’s BHH services team.

I have worked for Guild for three months and supporting people in the community is amazing.

Our goal in BHH is to help people reach their health and wellness goals related to physical and mental health - whatever that may look like.  Every visit or phone call is supporting these goals whether it is referring to a therapist or Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS), educating about healthy eating, how to increase physical activity or get a prescription filled.  We strive to increase stability while collaborating with other people in their life - whether it’s a doctor or their mother. 

My background as a Peer is very helpful. I do a lot of listening, supporting, empathizing and praising - in order to encourage another step on the recovery path. I still talk about stigma, hope and my path to recovery. Natalie Huberty, Systems Navigator on my team, reminds me that I need to meet the clients where they are in life, not where “society” thinks they should be and it makes our job hard. I am continuing to learn resource management – the hardest part of my job!

When completing a recent intake with Team Lead Sheri Fischer, RN, we heard a story of chronic homelessness, fleeing an abusive marriage, drug addiction, chronic untreated physical issues and the inability to get to doctor appointments. She was frozen and overwhelmed - not knowing the first step to take.  Anger, depression and negative thoughts were acknowledged while we promised support and advocacy   Prioritizing in the beginning is important – sometimes a health and wellness program doesn’t seem like enough.  Housing is often the #1 priority and we help people navigate the complex and, at times, confusing world of housing. Monthly check-ins are a goal, but when a client is new, more time is usually needed.

Working as a team is the perfect platform for our clients. If something is needed or a crisis occurs, there is more than one person to contact. Life challenges like the client listed above, need more than one professional involved. Brainstorming and supporting the workers on our team is necessary when navigating our community’s sometimes non-existent, ever-changing resources.

I am thankful that this program is working in our state. Supporting stability is a big key to health and wellness.  I continue to meet people who are not as far along as I am on my journey and am thankful every day when I can say, “If I can do it, you can do it – and we will help!”

I welcome inquiries about our team and am always available for a cup of coffee!

Barbara Kaiser

Guild Incorporated / Behavioral Health Home

130 Wabasha St. So. Suite 100

St. Paul MN. 55107

651-286-8605 Main Office

651-242-9176 Cell Phone

Addressing the use of commercial tobacco

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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.

Tobacco-free peer learning cohort

The American Lung Association, in partnership with organizations who have recently gone tobacco-free (including Avivo, Mental Health Resources, People Incorporated and Vail Place) are offering their mentorship and support to four new organizations interested in becoming tobacco-free and adding tobacco treatment and support into their programs. For more information, or if you want to join the cohort, contact Jamie Andycha at

The American Lung Association in Minnesota

The American Lung Association in Minnesota (ALA MN) is working to decrease tobacco's significant and disproportionate impact on people with mental illness. ALA MN provides resources to trainings, cessation materials, and other lines to integrating tobacco treatment services in organizations that serve people with mental illness and chemical dependency. Visit ALA MN for more information, like the guide How to Address Tobacco Use in Minnesota's Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services: TIPS FROM THE FIELD and downloadable PDFs about providing healthy facilities, helping the people you serve get healthy, and tobacco-free grounds.

Learning and resources

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

Building Systems of Culturally Responsive Integrated Care: A Series

The Minnesota Departments of Health and Human Services are partnering with Minnesota providers, educators and community organizations to bring you a collaborative learning initiative. The initiative is designed to support the capacity of Minnesota providers to deliver integrated care to increase health equity and improve the health and wellness for all individuals and communities in Minnesota.

The initiative involves:

  • monthly remote video conferencing sessions modeled after Project ECHO, used to share information about the factors which affect the health of individuals, families, and communities and provide time and space for participants to share experiences and have discussion (including case-based learning when available);
  • journaling prompts and exercises designed to promote individual critical reflection and brainstorm action steps;
  • individualized coaching support; and
  • in-person learning sessions to provide opportunity for the participants to meet face to face and strengthen relationships across the cohort.

The initiative will start in January 2020 and end in June 2020. The initiative will bring together Health Care Home (HCH) clinics, Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHCs) and behavioral health home (BHH) services providers and their partners. Please stay tuned for more information and how you can participate.

Psych Hub: Free library of mental health education

Psych Hub is an online platform providing free, engaging videos about mental health, substance use and suicide prevention. Psych Hub aims to be the trusted resource for consumers, family members, healthcare professionals and anyone else seeking best in class content on evidence-based behavioral health and substance use disorders.

From the MN Department of Health 

Cultivating Social Connection in Rural Communities

Pediatric Care Coordination Community of Practice invites you to attend a Webex event.

  • Thursday, November 7, 2019
  • 12 - 1 pm
  • Register

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


Housing stabilization services

DHS is pleased to announce that CMS has approved our 1915(i) application in order to provide Housing Stabilization Services. Minnesota is the first state in the country to have housing-related services approved in our Medicaid State Plan through this state plan amendment. These services are designed to help people with disabilities and seniors find and keep housing. Services will be available to people who are eligible beginning July 2020. More information can be found in the official DHS press release.

Spreading the word about BHH services

Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) Transition Fairs

BHH services policy team members shared information about BHH services at the Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF) in Red Wing on August 27 and MCF-Stillwater on October 29. The DOC hosts eight transitions fairs throughout the state each year. The purpose of the fair is to provide reentry services and resources to the men and women who are nearing release from a Minnesota correctional facility. DHS staff attended the MCF-Stillwater transition fair with Touchstone Mental Health’s BHH services Program Supervisor, Chris Hughes, and hope to partner with more BHH services providers at DOC events in 2020. Visit the Kare11 website for a local news story about a DOC transitions fair.

Meetings with Hennepin County Front Door and Child Access services supervisors

BHH services policy team members met with supervisors at Hennepin County Front Door services and from Hennepin County Child Access services, within the Northwest Family Service Center. Both meetings provided DHS staff with an opportunity to learn about available access services in Hennepin County while raising awareness of BHH services. DHS is hopeful these meetings will inspire new referral partnerships with certified BHH services providers.

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