Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services,
A Healthcare Service Agency
At a Glance
PATRICIA A. REHMER, MSN Commissioner
Ezra Griffith M.D., Acting Medical Director
Established - 1995 
Statutory authority - CGS Sec. 17a-450
Central office - 410 Capitol Avenue, 4th Floor,
Number of employees (full and part-time) - 3,693
Recurring operating expenses - $701,082,785
Organizational structure -
The organizational structure of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) emphasizes results-based accountability through the Offices of the Commissioner, 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, Military Support Services, Multicultural Affairs, Planning Analysis/Support, Prevention and Health Promotion, Recovery Community Affairs, Safety Services, Statewide Services, and Young Adult Services.
DMHAS is a healthcare service agency responsible for health promotion, and the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in Connecticut. The single overarching goal of DMHAS is promoting and achieving a quality-focused, culturally responsive, and recovery-oriented system of care. The mission of DMHAS is to improve the quality of life for Connecticut residents by providing an integrated network of comprehensive, effective and efficient mental health and addiction services that foster self-sufficiency, dignity and respect.
While DMHAS' prevention and health promotion services serve all Connecticut citizens, its mandate is to serve adults (18 years and over) with mental health and/or substance use disorders, who lack the financial means to obtain such services on their own. DMHAS also provides collaborative programs for individuals with special needs, such as persons with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, people in the criminal justice system, those with problem gambling disorders, pregnant women with substance use disorders, persons with traumatic brain injury, National Guard/Reserve members and their families, and young adult populations transitioning out of the Department of Children and Families.
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. 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, developing and disseminating provider report cards, 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 is 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 Opportunity, Social Inclusion and Sustain Stability in Individuals’ Lives.
2. Quality of Care Management—Managing by Outcomes, Expanding Continuing Care Recovery and Effective Service Models.
· Employment Supports. Assisted 11,000 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, that developed meaningful employment for 50% of the 358 program participants; and Secured vocational training, through the federally funded Access to Recovery Program, for more than 1,000 persons across the State.
· Women’s Service’s Practice Improvement Collaborative. Continued to implement gender responsive programming and trauma-informed care in seventeen (17) of DMHAS’ Women and Children programs. Expansion efforts are underway to replicate this initiative at other provider sites.
· Mental Health Waiver. Provided intensive Home and Community services to individuals residing in nursing homes or who are at-risk of entering nursing homes, resulting in approximately 50 individuals successfully living in the community; and Diverted over 90 individuals from entering nursing homes and discharged over 60 individuals to less restrictive settings.
3. Workforce and Organizational Effectiveness– Investing in People who Provide Consumer-friendly, High Quality Services.
· Veterans Resource Representative Training Program. Trained 150 DMHAS clinicians in the clinical needs of returning veterans; health care services, eligibility criteria, key points of contact and referral methods for accessing services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Vet Center systems; and state and federal veterans benefits in order to improve clinicians’ ability assist veterans in treatment and service planning.
· Information Systems. Implemented a new web-based provider data system that is in full compliance with the federal National Outcome Measures; Upgraded the DMHAS state-operated behavioral health information system to Avatar, which is a superior cost-effective, HIPAA compliant solution; Initiated the upgrade of DMHAS’ file, print and email services from Novell to Microsoft, the State of Connecticut enterprise standard; and Procured for a prevention data system that collects and manages substance abuse prevention services data and supports performance-based outcome measurement.
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 Connecticut. Examples include: Cultivated respectful alliances with 29 distinct agencies representing several systems in launching the federally funded Connecticut Jail Diversion and Trauma Services Initiative; and Partnered with the Department of Social Services, Department of Labor, Workforce Investment Boards, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, and DMHAS employment providers on a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant-funded pilot employment program focused on promoting workforce development opportunities for tenants of supportive housing. Additional collaborations can be found on the DMHAS website at www.dmhas.state.ct.us.
Information Reported as Required by State Statute
Affirmative Action Annual Plan. DMHAS annually prepares and submits its Affirmative Action Plan to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities each January 30th for approval.
Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council. On or before January 15th of each year, the Council, Co-Chaired by DMHAS, is required to submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly that evaluates substance abuse prevention and treatment services and the policies pertaining to these programs and services.
Allocation of Federal Funds by Department. DMHAS is charged with reporting its findings regarding the disposition of allocations on or before January 1st of each year to the Governor and the General Assembly along with the Department’s recommendations pertaining to executive and legislature action(s) as it finds beneficial to the public interest.
Substance Abuse Treatment Programs for Pregnant Women and Their Children. On or before November 13th, annually, DMHAS is required to submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly detailing treatment availability for pregnant women.
Merging the former Department of Mental Health (established 1953) with the Addiction Services component of the Department of Public Health and Addiction Services.