ST. PAUL – Legislation authored by Rep. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, to strengthen crisis stabilization units in Otter Tail County and beyond has received preliminary approval from the Minnesota House.
Language from Rasmusson’s H.F. 1305 was included in an omnibus package (H.F. 2128) containing health, human services and early childhood measures which was approved on party lines, 70-62, on Monday.
“One of my top priorities as a legislator is to improve access to mental health services,” Rasmusson said. “My mission with this bill is to strengthen the few crisis stabilization units we have left as a state and lay the groundwork for providing more lower-cost, short-term services that provide critical support to our neighbors experiencing a mental health crisis.”
The crisis stabilization services Rasmusson’s proposal supports are designed to bring a client to a pre-crisis level of functioning. These services are provided in a residential setting for adults who are in need of structure and assistance from 24-hour mental health staff and would be at risk of hospitalization without the services.
Rasmusson said Productive Alternatives, which operates a residential crisis stabilization unit out of Fergus Falls, has been instrumental in helping to prepare and advance the bill he authored. With numerous co-authors from both sides of the aisle, Rasmusson’s bill received wide, bipartisan support in the committee process.
“I appreciate Rep. Rasmusson’s efforts to champion our cause on what has truly been a collaborative effort,” said Productive Alternatives President Steve Skauge. “This legislation will provide us a stable source of funding so we can continue offering services to help people in and around Otter Tail County.”
While initial approval has been provided, Rasmusson said his work on this proposal is not complete.
“Mental health is a major issue in our community and the need for resources is as important as ever as we see impacts of the pandemic come to light,” Rasmusson said. “The crisis stabilization units my bill assists provide better services for people at a lower cost to taxpayers than other health care facilities, so we all benefit one way or another. I will continue working to ensure this legislation makes it to the finish line and into enactment.”
The Senate companion bill, authored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, has been included in the Senate’s related omnibus bill.