Allina Health Using Co-Located Partnership Model to Build New Center for Integrated Mental Health and Addiction Care

Historically, mental health care and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment were siloed. But as new research emerges about the importance of integrated care, providers are putting fresh emphasis on treating patients holistically.

Allina Health, for instance, is looking to break down the barriers between mental health and SUD care with its new Center for Integrated Mental Health and Addiction Care. The center is aimed at helping patients access services for multiple behavioral health conditions simultaneously.

“For a long time, unfortunately, we were taught that we can help your depression once you’ve established sobriety, and things like that, which we know clinically is not the best care,” Brian Palmer, vice president of mental health and addiction services at Allina Health, told Behavioral Health Business. “We know that if we treat mental illness and addiction simultaneously, we help both get better faster, and [patients] have a longer-term recovery.”


The new center will be located in Fridley, Minnesota, and attached to Allina Health’s Mercy Hospital. The 50,000-square-foot treatment facility will include outpatient services and intensive day programs. The new center is funded by Allina Health’s philanthropy team.

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Allina Health is a nonprofit health system that has more than 90 clinics, 10 hospitals and 15 retail pharmacies in its network.

Allina Health is using a partnership model in order to co-locate services in the new center. For example, Canvas Health will supply mental health and addiction urgent care services. Touchstone Mental Health will be providing crisis beds on the center’s campus.


The center will also be addressing social determinants of health issues through a collaborative model. Southern Anoka County Community Assistance will provide food assistance, with Anoka County Social Services offering access to other county programs. Additionally, Penny George Institute for Health and Healing will focus on providing whole-person care.

Patients often struggle to navigate both the health care system and accessing community resources such as food pantries, Palmer said. Co-locating resources for behavioral health and overall well-being could help drive holistic care.

“I think 10 years from now, we’re going to look back and say that we realized mental health was essential to driving population health and driving value in health care,” Palmer said.

Integrating mental health care, SUD treatment and community resources also makes financial sense in the long run.

“We spent a lot of time looking at the health economics, and if we assemble this type of care, could we reduce overall health care costs by improving the quality of the care we provide, and reducing the unnecessary and inappropriate use of health care resources that often happens when people don’t have access,” Palmer said. “If we can really make the entire system … integrate together, we think we can drive value in the process – and we’ll be measuring that.”

Building on the new facility will start in 2023. The health system is projecting a 2024 opening.

“We know that creating more access to mental health and addiction services is an important priority for the communities we serve across Minnesota and throughout our region,” Lisa Shannon, president and CEO of Allina Health, said in a statement. “We know we do better when we work together and this revolutionary facility provides critical programs in one location, transforming our ability to provide patient-centered care and expand our capacity for mental health and addiction patients and their families.”

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