Mille Lacs County comments through its attorney on Riverwood situation

Following community concern about the closing of the regional Riverwood Centers mental health provider based in Braham on March 17, Mille Lacs County Attorney Jan Jude responded with a March 21 press release.

Mille Lacs County had been contracting with Riverwood to provide mental health services for residents of the county who were uninsured or underinsured up until Jan. 1 this year.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota had come out with a statement decrying Riverwood’s closing. Sue Abderholden, NAMI’s executive director, also stated that the Mille Lacs County Board’s decision to no longer contract with Riverwood after Dec. 31 contributed to Riverwood’s closing. Abderholden said that the state and Riverwood itself also contributed to the reasons for the closing.

Jude, in the press release, states that the county “would like to reassure its residents that we are prepared to serve any mental health needs they may have.”

The county was able to implement contracts effective Jan. 1, 2014, with a number of mental health providers throughout the county and the surrounding area, Jude stated. These new contracts thereby avoided “any lapse in available mental health services.” Among the providers it set up to contract with starting Jan. 1, Jude noted, is a psychiatric provider through Kanabe County.

Jude then listed the following agencies as being able to provide mental health services to clients in Mille Lacs County:

• Lighthouse Child and Family Services (office-based therapy, in-home, community support program).

• Kanabec County Family Services (medication management).

• Dr. Marlin Trulsen (diagnostic and psychological evaluations).

• Nystrom and Associates (family support services).

• Mille Lacs Health System.

• Fairview Counseling Center.

• Caritas Mental Health Clinic.

• Greater Minnesota Family Services.

• Brunetti Consulting (psychological services).

Jude also referred to what Mille Lacs County Administrator Roxy Traxler had stated in an earlier press release: that the county didn’t cancel its contract with Riverwood, but decided not to renew its contract that expired Dec. 31, 2013. Jude also said the county had met all its financial obligations with Riverwood.

Jude continued that Mille Lacs County had “brought a number of issues and concerns to the Riverwood Centers Board in January 2013,” including seeking from Riverwood further clarification of Riverwood’s financial status. She said the county had requested a work session to address the county’s concerns regarding fiscal management.

“Mille Lacs County feels strongly that its residents deserve to receive the best services available, while also being fiscally responsible in the use of both taxpayers’ dollars and public funding from the state,” Jude added.

She also repeated what Mille Lacs County Commissioner Roger Tellinghuisen had told the Union-Eagle earlier in the week: The county Community & Veterans Services Department “would be happy to provide assistance in finding appropriate mental health services for yourself or a family member.”

The CVS office can be called at 320-983-8208.

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