Deep Dive – MHCP Mental and Behavioral Health Care Access Priority

The Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP) members and affiliates have long worked to identify provider-driven strategies to improve access to and coordination of mental and behavioral health care for adults and youth, with a focus on low-income and vulnerable populations. These efforts have been increasingly important considering significant delivery system changes, workforce challenges, and elevated community advocacy.

MHCP collaborative activities are organized under six key access strategies:

  1. Improve access for adult and youth high acuity (involuntary and voluntary) inpatient care
  2. Continuously improve the crisis service delivery system
  3. Develop and maintain community-based residential treatment alternatives for youth and adults
  4. Improve timely access to outpatient diagnostic and treatment services
  5. Improve care coordination within and across the mental health delivery system
  6. Maintain and improve Milwaukee public/private behavioral health care delivery system coordinating infrastructure

“The value of bringing leaders together across the delivery system is immeasurable,” said Mike Lappen, Administrator, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Services (BHS), MHCP Behavioral Health Executive Committee. “These are big problems we are looking to solve that take time. You can only do that with a systemic view and a willingness from all partners to work together.”

Over the tenure of the MHCP, these collective efforts have supported the redesign of the psychiatric crisis delivery system, including the opening of the joint venture Mental Health Emergency Center, increased access to outpatient services at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), facilitated cross-sector partnerships like the BHS/FQHC Access Clinics, launched community and provider navigation efforts (, and funded targeted efforts to increase access to youth services.

“This is a priority area that is on all MHCP members’ minds,” said Ann Christiansen, Executive Director, MHCP. “They are steadfast in their dedication to continue to identify gaps and develop shared solutions.”