DHS, others, testify to House Behavioral Health committee

The state Department of Human Services and others testified to a House Behavioral Health committee yesterday, with a warning on how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase of isolation, exacerbating mental health and addiction issues across the state.

DHS has proposed some changes, including a broader use of telemedicine, steps to improve access to MA and Minnesota Care, extending recertification timelines for mental health programs and grant management flexibilities, in an attempt to relieve some of the bureaucratic red tape.

“At a time when we’re seeing use and addiction amplified, we’re seeing a decrease in capacity … for the system to serve those in need,” Amy Dellwo, public policy director for NUWAY, told the House Behavioral Health Policy Division Wednesday.

Preliminary findings by the U of M and NUWAY state that people who receive both in-person and telemedicine services have better outcomes than those who use only one or the other, but the limits of telemedicine include young children not engaging with their treatment, and access issues, such as consistent internet connectivity.


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