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Senate bill retains mental health services in Wadena and Fergus Falls

State Sen. Dan Skogen of Hewitt said he's encouraged that the Health and Human Services Finance Bill passed by the Minnesota Senate May 6 restored proposed cuts to a Wadena hospital and a Fergus Falls dental clinic serving the disabled.

"I'm glad that the Senate recognized that these cuts were disproportionately targeted to greater Minnesota," Skogen said. "In addition to retaining jobs and providing services to people who used to be served by the state hospital system, we need to strike a better balance of where cuts are made."

The bill, which passed on a bipartisan vote, keeps the dental clinic in Fergus Falls operating by changing the payment system to one where they are paid based on Medicare reimbursement rates. This change requires approval by the federal government, and would result in additional federal funding for these services.

In Wadena, the bill provides $900,000 to re-staff and reopen the hospital until June 30, 2011. The hospital was recently closed by the state Department of Human Services without legislative approval.