Press Release

MN Health Collaborative Initiative Featured in MinnPost

This week we are grateful that the work of MN Health Collaborative was featured in a news story by mental health reporter Andy Steiner. The MinnPost story describes how MN Health Collaborative partners have developed and implemented standards for suicide prevention and intervention in Emergency Departments (EDs) to improve care for people experiencing mental health crisis and support the people who serve them in EDs.

It’s important to note that while the article speaks to universal screening only, the Collaborative recommendations also support the approach of conducting targeted screening with higher risk populations instead of universal.  Each organization should choose the method that makes sense given its unique resources and population needs.

The MinnPost article includes interviews with Suzanne Witterholt, MD of Allina Health and Christopher Palmer, MD, medical director of North Memorial Health Hospital’s ED. Both Dr. Witterholt and Dr. Palmer were instrumental in creating the new shared standards among others in the MN Health Collaborative working group.  Read the full Call to Action for Suicide Prevention and Intervention in the ED here.  The following is an excerpt of the article and a link to the full article for your convenience.

New set of emergency department standards may help identify patients at high risk for suicide

by Andy Steiner

It’s a common scenario in emergency departments (EDs): A person comes in complaining of a painful stomachache, a crushing migraine or another acute medical condition. While health care providers work to address the patient’s physical symptoms, further observation reveals that there’s more going on than meets the eye — the physical pains that brought the individual into the ED are actually signifiers of deeper psychological pains.

In the not-so-distant past, busy ED providers may have discharged patients like this after addressing their physical ailments: The psychological roots were someone else’s problem. But today, with more and more people turning to EDs for mental health care, and state rates of suicide up by 40.6 percent since 1999, Minnesota emergency medicine providers are acknowledging that change needs to happen.

This spring, members of MN Health Collaborative, a group of state health care organizations convened by the Bloomington-based Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), announced a new set of shared standards designed to address suicide prevention and intervention in Minnesota’s EDs.

Visit the MinnPost site to read the entire article.