Five counties just north of the Twin Cities are scrambling to find crisis mental health services following the closure of a large mental health provider this week.
Riverwood Centers (Braham, Minn.) closed suddenly on March 17, after activating contingency plans that contacted patients and provided referrals to other providers.
According to an official from the state Department of Mental Health, Riverwood had apparently closed due to insufficient operating funds. The center had operated for years on very narrow margins due to the high percentage of uninsured, mentally ill individuals that it served.
The financial shortfalls continued despite the fact that state legislators had, in 2013, passed a five percent increase in state Medical Assistance (Medicaid) funds with the intent of helping financially-strapped mental health system providers.
In an e-mail to county officials, Riverwood's executive director, Kevin Woman, lamented the closing, stating that "It is a sad day for our patients, our staff, and our region as a whole."