$177M proposal to bolster Minnesota's mental health facilities

- The Dayton administration is shining a spotlight on the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center as it seeks more funding for care of the mentally ill in Minnesota.

Gov. Dayton is proposing a $177 million package of improvements for state hospitals and mental health facilities, which includes the center in Anoka and the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter. Anoka is an inpatient psychiatric hospital for those experiencing significant mental health crises. It’s been in the news recently after several high-profile incidents including assaults on staff and a former patient threatening to light himself on fire.

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At a Tuesday roundtable in Anoka, Human Services commissioner Emily Piper said help is needed this legislative session.

“We need to address critical safety and quality issues here, but it is difficult to make headway when you are operating in a continued state of crisis,” Piper said.

The state announced Tuesday it has reached what’s known as a "systems improvement agreement" with federal regulators. It allows outside resources to come into the Anoka treatment center to provide advice and guidance on improving patient care.

“Why do we allow emergency departments across Minnesota to board patients for weeks and months, not getting care they need, and not coming to the psychiatrists and psychologists and nurses and pharmacists here that are providing exceptional treatment?” Dr. Rahul Koranne with the Minnesota Hospital Association said.

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