Public Health and Human Services Department continues restructuring to improve service

Public Health and Human Services, St. Louis County’s largest department, has restructured its Adult Services Division to better address and serve today’s needs of county citizens. Adult Services, which assists approximately 10,000 people each year, will now have two divisions: Home and Community Based Services, and Behavioral Health.

Gena Bossert, who has led the Adult Services Division since 2015, will now serve as Behavioral Health Director based in Duluth. Meanwhile, Terry McCabe has been promoted to Director of Home and Community Based Services. McCabe has worked for St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services for 28 years in a variety of roles, most recently as Supervisor of Aging and Adult Disabilities and MnCHOICES Assessment for the northern part of the county. She is based in Virginia.

“The landscape of our work is constantly changing,” said Linnea Mirsch, director of Public Health and Human Services. “We believe this added strategic leadership is necessary for us to better navigate state and federal policy changes, as well as to form innovative partnerships with local agencies. It will result in better service for citizens, as well as better support for our staff.”

As director of the new Behavioral Health Division, Bossert will focus on Substance Use Disorder (SUD) reform, adult mental health, adult protection, initiatives focused on people involved in the criminal justice system, and efforts to work with community partners and the state on a Regional Crisis Center in St. Louis County.

This project, “the Clarity Center for Well being” is an example of how the county and community works together to offer a full spectrum or services, from prevention and destigmatization to mobile crisis response, crisis beds, improved hospitalization utilization and ultimately better quality of life for people with behavioral health challenges.

Meanwhile, McCabe, as director of Home and Community Based Services, will be responsible for waiver programs including assessment and case management for adults and children. These programs provide support for people with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, and for people with aging needs, so they can remain integrated in their communities.This new role will strengthen the county’s continuum of care for people of all ages by developing community resources and integrating these in a coordinated model of care.

“For the people we serve, any change they experience will be gradual,” said Mirsch. “They will still see the same faces on our staff helping them. But long term, we expect this will result in better partnerships and programming; outcomes-focused, person-centered care.”

The formation of the Home and Community Based Services Division and Behavioral Health Division are just the latest changes in the PHHS Department to ensure better service and programming countywide. Other changes in the last two years have included the addition of a co-director based on the Iron Range for the Children and Family Services Division, and the establishment of a Planning, Resource and Organizational Development unit to both analyze and improve current programming, expedite the development of targeted community resources, and develop training and resources for staff.