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Mental Health Transfer



Merger will allow for better coordination of services
The White Earth Tribal Mental Health program will be taking over Mental Health Services at the White Earth Health Center around mid-January.  
“Consumers should expect to receive the same service as usual with their provider.  Consistency and continuity of care are both program’s top priority during this time,” said White Earth Tribal Mental Health Program manager Lamar Hill.  
The 638 transition of IHS Mental Health services under White Earth Tribal Mental Health is the result of the Tribal Council’s call for mental health services that are united and free of obstruction and duplication. 
This transition is encapsulated within the Tribal Council’s vision of tribally operated programs leading and guiding services that are culturally appropriate and address the unique needs of the White Earth Nation. During this transition period and beyond, both programs will be working as one to ensure that ease of accessibility, continuity of care, and most importantly, quality of care remain the top priority. 
“While there will be necessary changes and restructuring occurring throughout this period, it is the goal to create a seamless transition that will prevent disruption of services for the consumer,” said Hill.
IHS staff specifically will have the option between present time and mid-January to decide if they want to remain in their positions with the merger or opt out and seek employment elsewhere, WETMH is committed to and recognizes the value in retaining any and all IHS mental health staff.
If IHS staff choose to opt out, WETMH is committed to ensuring that consumers receiving services from that particular staff/s will have prompt access to another clinician who can meet their needs or will be assisted in finding a provider from an outside agency if that consumer so wishes.
“This merger will provide for better service collaboration, consistency, and continuity while reducing duplication of services,” said Hill.
The merger will also allow for future development of service capacity with the potential of extending services hours into the evenings for both the community based and clinically-based programs.
White Earth has the opportunity to utilize third party billing for services such as substance abuse, mental health, home health, and transportation to name a few.  With the opportunity to bill for services, this allows programs to expand and meet the needs of White Earth. 
Other tribes have also decided to assume all of the mental health services from the Indian Health Services unit.  Some of the tribes that have done so are Fond du Lac, Mille Lacs, Menominee and Ho-Chunk to name a few.  Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs have assumed all of their behavioral health services for their tribes from their local Indian Health Service. White Earth works closely with the White Earth Indian Health Services Unit and that relationship will remain consistent and both entities will continue to work on Annual Funding Agreements, grant opportunities, and partnerships. 
“The White Earth Health Center - Indian Health Service is pleased to support the White Earth Reservation’s assumption of Mental Health Services at the clinic,” said  Larry Patnaude, Chief Executive Officer, White Earth Health Center - Indian Health Service.  “This transition will allow for better coordination of mental health services throughout our community. The White Earth Health Center will continue to work closely with our White Earth Tribal Health partners and continue to provide the best possible healthcare for all our patients.”