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Chemical dependency pilot project

Published (4/10/2009)
By Patty Ostberg
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A chemical dependency pilot project to help counties better manage resources was approved April 2 by the House Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee.

HF2069, sponsored by Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), would establish a “state-county chemical health care pilot project” to redesign the state and county relationship in delivering chemical dependency services more cost effectively.

The counties would have authority to design and operate a new service delivery model. They would also develop binding agreements with the Human Services Department to clarify performance outcomes.

The department would be required to report to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2011, on the effectiveness of the project.

The bill now awaits action by the House Health Care and Human Services Finance Division. A companion, SF1766, sponsored by Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), was laid over April 1 by the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division.

Kelly Harder, Steele County human services director, said the proposal would benefit the system with more flexibility and integrate resources with primary and mental health systems to save money. He said it could answer the question of “How do we bring the right amount of chemical health care home to the right person in the right amount of time?”

“This is exactly where we should be going,” said Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), adding that consolidating state and county functions would improve the system.

Bob Melson, past president for the Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health, questioned the bill’s necessity, saying counties can currently contract any service that is needed. He said changes in eligibility and maintenance of effort would help deliver services more efficiently.

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