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Home for new Mental Health Center revealed

Once completed, the center will house multiple exam rooms for individual, group and family therapy. Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center expects to open the clinic April 1. (Republican Eagle photos by Michael Brun)

Renovations started Monday on vacant space in the Merchants Bank building in Red Wing, future home of Goodhue County’s privately run Mental Health Center.

Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center, which received a contract with the county in November to take over mental health services, plans to open the clinic by April 1, Executive Director Julie Hanson said.

“It’s a very nice space,” Hanson said. “It will be really convenient for our clients to access.”

The 2,400-square-foot clinic will be located on the first floor of the Merchants Bank building off Highway 61 across from McDonald’s. The finished design will feature multiple exam rooms, offices, a conference room and reception lobby.

The space sat unfinished for around 12 years ever since Merchants Bank moved into the building, local market President Mike Grove said.

Goodhue County Board Chair Ron Allen said the location is a good fit because it will be easier to provide directions to patients unfamiliar with the Red Wing area. The previous county-run clinic was located in the lower level of the Citizens Center downtown.

“I’m really impressed,” said Allen after touring the site Thursday.

The center will offer psychiatric medication management as well as individual, family and group therapy, Hanson said. HVMHC also will look to expand services for substance abuse therapy and mental health evaluations for very young children and their families.

Hanson said the organization will be working closely with the county over the coming weeks to transition patients to the new center and receive their consent to do so.

The county started the discussion of privatizing mental health services at a workshop last January, Allen said. The goal was to increase efficiency of services and make them available to more county residents.

The Health and Human Services Board issued a request for proposal to privatize the center in September, and the board formally approved HVMHC’s submission at a meeting Nov. 19.

Goodhue County, which acquired mental health services from Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center in 1999, was one of only seven counties in the state running a public mental health center, according to an HHS Board presentation in August.

The board voted for the county to continue to operate its Community Support Program, which provides support for adults living with serious persistent mental illness.

HVMHC operates clinics in Houston, Wabasha, Winona and Fillmore Counties, as well as La Crosse County, Wis., and has 49 years of experience, according to a HHS report.

Along with the Red Wing clinic, Hanson said HVMHC will consider opening an additional office in Goodhue County if there is enough demand and resources.

“(HVMHC) will be long-term for the county,” Allen said. “This isn’t something they’ll just do for one or two years.”

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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