Skip to main content

Report: Public-private partnership improves care for mental health, reduces costs

East Metro Mental Health Roundtable to continue with leadership from Mayor Melvin Carter


October 3, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – A new report shows that a public-private partnership has led to more than eight initiatives that have improved care for people with mental illnesses, reduced the need for emergency services and lowered costs.

HealthPartners and former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman convened the East Metro Mental Health Roundtable 10 years ago. It includes representatives from more than 25 organizations in the eastern Twin Cities. Mayor Melvin Carter will continue to provide leadership from the City of Saint Paul by co-chairing the Roundtable with HealthPartners President and CEO Andrea Walsh.

Reducing psychiatric emergencies

A key issue the Roundtable addressed over the past decade was that lack of access to medication was a leading cause of mental health emergencies. To address this, the Roundtable created the Mental Health Drug Assistance Program in 2008. The program pays for and provides 24/7 access to medications. About 350 people benefit each year. As a result, patients report fewer psychiatric hospitalizations, jail visits, homelessness and thoughts of harming themselves.

Mental Health Urgent Care

The East Metro Crisis Alliance is a key partner in designing and implementing programs. One example is the Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health in St. Paul. It is the first of its kind in Minnesota to provide walk-in access to crisis services. It serves more than 2,500 people each year. An estimated 10 percent would have used the emergency room if the Urgent Care had not been available.

Other initiatives include increasing the number of beds for mental health in east metro hospitals and providing a medical respite unit in Catholic Charities Higher Ground shelter. The unit provides a safe place to heal for homeless patients after they leave the hospital.

All of these programs ultimately reduce the cost of care by helping patients to get the care they need before they’re in mental health crisis in hospital emergency rooms.

Read the 10 year executive summary.

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is a consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit

Back to top