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South Country Health Alliance | Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award

Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award

Morrison County Accountable Community for Health received a 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award from Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Emily Piper for confronting opioid abuse in Morrison County and surrounding communities.

The initiative was one of seven programs in Minnesota recognized by the Commissioner at a ceremony held at the Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building in St. Paul. According to an earlier DHS news release, Piper said the award recipients exemplify the great human services work happening across Minnesota to support healthy people, stable families and strong communities.

“The work we do in human services has real, tangible impacts on the lives of Minnesotans,” Piper said. “These organizations have gone above and beyond to make a difference for some of the most vulnerable among us.”

Partnering with South Country Health Alliance, Morrison County received a State Innovation Model (SIM) grant in 2015 to combat abuse and overuse of opioids in the community. Using a multi-disciplinary care coordination model, the project delivers patient-centered care for individuals taking multiple prescription opioids.

“South Country Health Alliance is proud to partner with Morrison County and St. Gabriel’s Health to address the needs of the community through this program,” said South Country Health Alliance CEO Leota Lind. “We are honored by the recognition of this award. However, the true award is the positive impact this program has on the individuals it serve and the community at large.”

The initiative also includes the Morrison County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, a collaborative relationship between CHI St. Gabriel’s Health, Morrison County Public Health and Social Services, community pharmacies, law enforcement, school districts, and other advocates. Their work has resulted in better patient outcomes, reduced Medical Assistance pharmacy claims saving millions of dollars, consistent prescribing practices and increased access to disposal for unused medications.

“The level of collaboration in this community is outstanding,” said Lind. “The outcomes reflect what can be accomplished when we work together.”

Pictured left to right: CHI St. Gabriel’s Health physicians Kurt DeVine and Heather Bell, DHS Commissioner Emily Piper, Morrison County Social Services Director Brad Vold, and South Country Health Alliance CEO Leota Lind

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