THOMAS A. KIRK, Jr., Ph.D., Commissioner
Patricia A. Rehmer MSN, Deputy Commissioner
Peter Rockholz MSSW, Deputy Commissioner
Kenneth Marcus, M.D., Medical Director
Established - 1995 
Statutory authority - CGS Sec. 17a-450
Number of employees (full- and part- time) - 4,070
Recurring operating expenses - $604,363,825
Organizational structure - The organizational structure of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) includes the Offices of the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, Medical Director, Administration and Finance, Community Services and Hospital, Health Care Systems, Community Education and Recovery Affairs, Forensic Services, Human Resources Management, Information Systems, Legislation and Policy, Multicultural Affairs, Prevention, Program Analysis and Support, Quality Assurance and Improvement, and the Division of Safety Services.
Merging the former Department of Mental Health (established 1953) with the Addiction Services component of the Department of Public Health and Addiction Services.
The mission of DMHAS is to
improve the quality of life for
DMHAS promotes and administers comprehensive, recovery-oriented
services in the areas of mental health and substance abuse prevention and
DMHAS continually works to enhance the effectiveness of our services. The DMHAS Division of Community Services and Hospitals is charged with integrating mental health and addiction services, enhancing service access and continuity of care, and ensuring quality service delivery and compliance with applicable state and federal regulations. Through its five regional teams CSH focuses on quality improvement, through on-site monitoring visits to contracted treatment agencies, desk audits of compliance with utilization and outcome/performance measures, and consumer/client focus groups.
Quality and performance is also measured through the Department’s Quality Assurance and Improvement Unit. The unit is charged with establishing performance measures, collecting and reviewing performance data, and ensuring annual consumer satisfaction surveys are completed.
In addition to the Department’s overarching goal of building a Value-Driven, Recovery-Oriented System of Care, DMHAS measures its accomplishments in four areas. Each is listed below, with a few examples of the many initiatives DMHAS is pursuing in those areas.
1. Quality of Care Management - Establish a statewide quality of care management system to achieve defined service outcomes and continued improvement of the integrated DMHAS healthcare system.
Performance Measurement - DMHAS solicited stakeholder feedback on existing Performance Measures. In preparation for the SFY 2008 contract renewal cycle, DMHAS has initiated the process of preparing a set of Core Measures that would apply to all programs and would also meet the federal requirements. In addition, every provider will receive a performance measures report card on a monthly basis to assist them in using data to make decisions, manage, and improve services within our network of care.
Women’s Treatment Practice Improvement Collaborative - DMHAS implemented the Women’s Treatment Practice Improvement Collaborative to develop evidence-based standards of care for all the women’s specialty programs and integrate these standards into all programs treating women within the DMHAS system of care.
2. Culturally Competent and Improved Service System - Provide culturally competent and integrated services to persons whose needs are particularly challenging or not being well met in the current system.
Access to Recovery -
Co-Occurring Initiative - DMHAS has continued its focus on increasing competencies in the area of co-occurring disorders. Through a five-year $3.9 million grant from CMHS, DMHAS has initiated the following infrastructure enhancements to better serve individuals with co-occurring disorders: 1) Statewide standardized screening and assessment; 2) Service coordination and network building through the implementation of evidence-based integrated treatment models; 3) Information sharing through the use of high quality data in a quality improvement framework; and 4) Workforce development activities, including enhancing curricula and providing online learning opportunities.
Employment Services - DMHAS Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs) have assessed their current employment practices and, based on their findings, have developed plans for implementing recovery-oriented practices.
Cultural Competence - The Office of Multicultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Research Division, developed and distributed a cultural competence survey and a language survey to all DMHAS-operated and funded providers.
Crisis Intervention Teams - DMHAS continued
implementation of this initiative in
Strategic Prevention Framework – DMHAS has completed a comprehensive analysis of State-level alcohol, tobacco, and other drug consequence and consumption data in order to assess State-level needs, which resulted in the decision to focus these federal resources on preventing alcohol abuse, with an emphasis on underage drinking.
Suicide Prevention Initiative - DMHAS received a $1.2 million award from the federal CMHS to develop and implement suicide prevention and early intervention programs.
Tobacco Prevention & Merchant Education -
Methamphetamine Prevention Task Force - DMHAS
has taken proactive steps to raise awareness and develop prevention strategies,
including the establishment of a Statewide Methamphetamine Prevention Task
Force to implement a coordinated and collaborative strategy to prevent
methamphetamine use and production in
3. Organizational and Management Effectiveness. Improve the organizational and management effectiveness of DMHAS.
Information Systems – In an effort to further enhance our data collection and analysis, DMHAS has initiated a process to secure a new client information system. The new system will strengthen and improve record keeping and data analysis for clinical services and performance monitoring.
Data Sharing – DMHAS initiated a cross-agency study, linking three state agencies' data sets, to analyze the effects of substance abuse treatment on criminal justice clients released from the Department of Correction (DOC).
4. Resource Base–Create a resource base to support DMHAS’ service and management goals.
Grants Development –
In SFY 2006, DMHAS was awarded over $20 million in new federal funding to
support the implementation of innovative enhancements to
Medicaid Rehabilitation Option – The Medicaid Rehab Option was implemented in January 2005 for group home care. This has resulted in improved quality of care and has increased the number of successful group home discharges to lower levels of care. Planning continues to support the second phase of the Rehab Option, which will target Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and Community Support Services. DMHAS is working with providers to clarify training and education needs, rate-setting, and service definition.
Affirmative Action Annual Plan - DMHAS has placed particular emphasis on the development of comprehensive Affirmative Actions plans, which provide a goal-oriented framework to positively influence the Department’s employment practices.