Report recommends county outsource more of its mental health care

    Milwaukee County should outsource more of mental health inpatient services and rely more upon community-based outpatient services, rather than continue to operate its 72-bed  Mental Health Complex, according to the recommendations of a new report by the Public Policy Forum and a team of national mental health consultants.
    The report culminates a two-year project initiated by the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (a collaboration headed by the five major health systems in Milwaukee County), the Medical Society of Milwaukee County and the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division.
    The project’s main objective was to examine gaps in the existing adult mental health care delivery system and devise ways to transform that system into one that more closely mirrors national best practices and guidance issued by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and President Barack Obama’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.
    The report makes 10 recommendations:
    1. Downsize and redistribute inpatient capacity.
    2. Involve private health systems in a more active role.
    3. Reorganize crisis services and expand alternatives.
    4. Reduce emergency detentions.
    5. Reorganize and expand community-based services.
    6. Promote a recovery-oriented system through person-centered approaches and peer
    7. Enhance and emphasize housing supports.
    8. Ensure cultural competency.
    9. Ensure trauma-informed care.
    10. Enhance quality assessment and improvement programs.
    “One of the elements that makes this project unique, and that provides strong hope for successful implementation of its recommendations, is the diverse and influential set of stakeholders who have funded and guided it,” said Public Policy Forum president Rob Henken. “Having both county and state government, private health care providers, the Medical College, mental health advocates and consumers, and civic leaders collaborating on this project bodes well for the type of community-wide effort that will be needed to transform the system.”
    Milwaukee County Supervisor Joseph Rice said, “The Forum has done the county a service through its thorough investigation and clear-cut recommendations for improving Milwaukee County’s mental health services. These recommendations coincide with the proposals I have made in response to efforts by some on the County Board to construct a new mental health hospital.”
    To see more about the report, visit

    – BizTimes Milwaukee

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