A Healthcare Service Agency
At a Glance
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
Central office -
Number of employees (full- and part-time) - 4,340
Recurring operating expenses - $687,081,398
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, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Affirmative Action, Education/Training, Evaluation/Quality Management and Improvement, Forensic Services, Healthcare Finance, Healthcare Systems, Human Resources, Information Systems, Legal/Ethics Compliance, Legislation and Policy, Multicultural Affairs, Planning Analysis/Support, Prevention, Recovery Community Affairs, Safety Services, Statewide Services, and Young Adult Services.
Merging the former Department of Mental Health (established 1953) with the Addiction Services component of the Department of Public Health and Addiction Services.
DMHAS is a
healthcare service agency responsible for health promotion, and the
prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in
While DMHAS' prevention and health
promotion services serve all
DMHAS continually works to enhance the effectiveness of our services, including ongoing compliance with the highest national standards of behavioral healthcare through accreditation by the Joint Commission across all its state-operated facilities. DMHAS’ Division of Healthcare Systems 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, Healthcare Systems focuses on quality improvement, through on-site monitoring visits to contracted treatment agencies, desk audits of compliance with utilization and outcome/performance measures, and focus groups with individuals served. Quality and performance is also measured through the DMHAS Division of Evaluation, Quality Management, and Improvement. The division 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 terms of progress made toward achievement of its four targeted goals. Each of the goals are presented below, followed by a few examples of the many initiatives DMHAS is pursuing to fulfill these goals.
1. Improved Service System— Providing a Comprehensive Array of Services
that Promote Health, Economic
Employment Services. Assisted 9,427 individuals in recovery to become employed; implemented an innovative addictions employment model in partnership with the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center and the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery; expanded the evidence‑based supported employment practice to six (6) sites, serving over 969 individuals with significant barriers to employment; and expanded training and technical assistance to seven (7) Women's Specialty Program's around Supported Employment and Education with goals of promoting and supporting employment and education services.
Housing Services. Created 235 supportive housing units for homeless individuals with mental health and substance use disorders; expanded network of certified sober houses to 85; awarded $43M capital funding to not-for-profit agencies through Next Step Supportive Housing Initiative to reduce homelessness among people with mental health and substance use disorders; and granted $26.4M from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat homelessness.
System Gridlock/Alternative to Hospitalization (ATH) Programs. Expanded ATH, which diverts individuals
with substance use disorders who present in emergency departments, to a total
of 11 hospitals statewide. ATH is an example of DMHAS’ reinvestment strategy,
which identifies innovative and cost-effective approaches and reinvests savings
to further support a recovery-oriented system of care; and partnered
Military Support Program (MSP). Initiated MSP in March 2007 to provide outpatient services to soldiers and their families through a statewide panel of 225 licensed clinicians; a total of 461 individuals (63% soldiers; 37% family members) have accessed the program.
Health Promotion and Wellness. Implemented a smoke-free campus, developed a screening tool for chronic medical issues, and collaborated with 3 healthcare clinics to improve wellness and access to primary care for persons at DMHAS’ CT Mental Health Center.
Alternative to Incarceration/Reduction in Recidivism. Continued training law enforcement on dealing effectively with persons with psychiatric disorders, with 400 officers from 47 departments trained since 2004; implemented a unique program at seven (7) sites in collaboration with the Judicial Branch and the Department of Correction that combines behavioral health services and justice agency supervision to reduce incarceration for adults with psychiatric disorders; instituted the Hartford Family Court Connection, a project linking Family Court referrals to treatment; and expanded to New Haven the Jail Diversion program for women who have psychiatric consequences of trauma.
2. Quality of Care Management—Managing by Outcomes, Expanding Continuing Care Recovery and Effective Service Models.
Consumer Satisfaction. Received 24,187 completed consumer surveys indicating that the majority of individuals are satisfied with services provided or funded by DMHAS.
Co-Occurring Initiative. Developed Co-Occurring Enhanced Guidelines; funded two (2) non-profit service providers to implement two (2) new 20-bed Co-Occurring Enhanced Residential Programs; credentialed 5 Co-Occurring Enhanced Intensive Outpatient Programs; and supported progress on implementation plans, based on evidence-based practices for individuals with co-occurring disorders, at 22 state-operated and private non-profit agencies.
Reduction in Use of Restraints/Seclusion. Reduced use of restraints/seclusion at DMHAS-operated inpatient facilities at or better than national standards; and awarded a three-year, $612K federal Center for Mental Health Services’ Restraint and Seclusion Grant to further reduce use of restraint and seclusion among young adults, ages 18-25, with serious mental illness at DMHAS’ Connecticut Valley and Cedarcrest Hospitals.
Prevention and Early Intervention. Recognized by the Northeast Center for Application of Prevention Technologies for the inclusion of two (2) promising problem gambling prevention programs in the National Registry for Evidence-based Programs/Practices; developed a comprehensive, data-driven strategic plan for prevention that informs funding, interagency collaborators, and leads to measurable outcomes; convened presidents/leaders from 35 campuses across Connecticut to address high-risk drinking among college students; and co-chaired the Public Health Subcommittee of the Governor’s Teen Driving Taskforce that introduced legislation to increase teen driver safety.
3. Workforce and Organizational Effectiveness– Investing in People who Provide Consumer-friendly, High Quality Services.
Greater Inclusion of Individuals in Recovery. Awarded federal Mental Health Transformation funds to increase the number of consumers/persons in recovery in the behavioral health workforce; facilitated the Recovery Speaks Program at DMHAS’ CT Valley Hospital, where persons with lived experience of psychiatric or substance use disorders serve as educators to undergraduate and graduate students; and developed an innovative credit-bearing Peer Training course with Housatonic Community College in which 19 individuals in recovery were enrolled.
Ongoing Enhancements at DMHAS’
4. Resource Base–Creating a Resource Base to Support Service Goals, Expansions and Fiscally Sound Investments in Workforce, Technology and Information Through Emphasis on Collaboration and Excellence in Communication.
Collaborations and Partnerships.
DMHAS takes pride in the many interagency
initiatives and public/private and academic collaborations that improve care
for thousands of people in
Access to Recovery (ATR). Awarded a 3-year, $14.5M federal ATR grant to expand continuum of clinical and recovery supports to include Buprenorphine, co-occurring enhanced intensive outpatient, and clinical recovery check-ups – case management, housing, employment, transportation, and peer- and faith-based supports.
Grants Development. Partnered with state agencies, providers, recovery communities, and academics in developing $15M in new proposals currently pending federal review; and awarded $1.3M from the federal Mental Health Transformation Grant to state/local government, private non-profit and Individual in Recovery, Youth and Family organizations to implement transformative initiatives.
Information Systems. Awarded $3.8M state bond funds for technology upgrades to DMHAS’ state-operated and not-for-profit service provider data information systems.
Recovery Management System (RMS). Implemented
RMS at DMHAS’
Information Reported as Required by State Statute
Affirmative Action Annual Plan—DMHAS received approval to develop a single Affirmative Action plan that covers its central office and each of its divisions/facilities.