About the Alliance

The Alliance plays an irreplaceable role in convening stakeholders for problem solving mental health and substance use crisis care issues at the systems level. Since 2001, the Alliance has worked as an innovative public-private partnership comprised of counties, hospitals, health plans, consumer organizations, and the state, whose purpose is to measurably improve the crisis system in Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington counties.

The Alliance formed as a result of a system-wide crisis that was sending mentally ill patients far from home to receive inpatient psychiatric care — at great detriment to the consumer’s recovery and great cost to the system. Unfortunately, our crisis system remains challenged by increased demand, decreased access to services and siloed responses. Ideas for system-level care improvements come through a flexible governance structure that establishes work groups as necessary to dig deep on issues and recommend solutions to the 16-member Leadership Team, that then takes responsibility for implementation.

The Alliance insists on participation from all East Metro mental health and substance use crisis system stakeholders – consumers of services, counties, hospitals, health plans, and the state of Minnesota. This Leadership Team has an inclusive governance structure, mandates consumer involvement in decisions, and includes co-chairs to ensure that it makes decisions with everyone involved and is focused on its core mission: Providing the right care at the right time to improve consumer health outcomes and reduce system costs.


Since forming in 2001, the Alliance has:

  • Created Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Services and worked to get it included as billable service for MA
  • Provided Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Services to adults in the East Metro
  • Supported the creation of the first Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health in Minnesota
  • Integrated Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) in to Crisis Stabilization Services and promoted CPS in East Metro crisis system
  • Launched a Certified Peer Specialist Community Support program
  • Improved communication and referrals between law enforcement, hospitals, counties, and mental health providers
  • Conducted research on cost-benefit of crisis stabilization and participated in successful advocacy for significant increase in crisis billing rate
  • Supported Community Metrics and East Metro Round Table with development of data report to show challenges in mental health/chemical health system
  • Successfully designed and raised funds to pilot a Mobile Substance Use Disorder Stabilization Team – the first of its kind in Minnesota
  • Implemented a common information sharing tool for law enforcement to use when transporting individuals to hospitals and detox to ensure better care
  • Developed and shared videos, resource guides and presentations to de-mystify crisis services and explain our complex system in order to improve access and reduce inappropriate use of higher levels of care

Alliance Membership

Ramsey, Dakota, Washington

Regions, United, and M Health Fairview Hospitals

Consumer Organizations:
NAMI Minnesota, Minnesota Recovery Connection, Mental Health Minnesota

Health Plans:
UCare, Medica, Blue Cross Blue Shield, HealthPartners

State of Minnesota:
DHS Behavioral Health

Alliance Purpose

The Alliance partners across systems to:

  • Continue to measurably improve the East Metro mental health and substance use crisis systems
  • Ensure that all adults experiencing a mental health and/or substance use crisis receive timely, high-quality, integrated services in the least restrictive setting regardless of ability to pay or county of residence.
  • Design and operationalize infrastructure to provide uninterrupted crisis services across medical systems, county lines, and providers.
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