Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) – Limited Scope


The Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) license is for businesses looking to open an IRTS business and obtain the Minnesota DHS license to do so.



The IRTS license is a very involved and complicated license. You are serving some of the most vulnerable people in Minnesota in a unique and sensitive transition in their lives. Therefore the State of Minnesota holds businesses to high standards of compliance and legal requirements in order to obtain a license and operate. An attorney helps break down the complicated rules and get a license and confirm your compliance is sound as you launch your business. These templates will help give you a good foundation before you submit your IRTS application.




Pricing: $5500 flat fee–

Includes a LIMITED SCOPE representation:

  1. Template Policies and Procedures and education on how to understand and use them
  2. ONLY the policies listed below that are according to Minnesota state law and DHS
  3. Includes technical edits based on DHS feedback
  4. Your IRTS legal questions answered related to the policies (does not include clinical questions or questions outside scope of legal practice)

*Does NOT include letter of need, location search, submitting or monitoring the actual IRTS application, filing fees, clinical policies such as medications, clinical staffing, and mock file. The policies you will receive are in accordance with Minnesota state law and DHS requirements and may not meet requirements for a third party payer or organization.

The package ONLY includes the listed policies below:

1 – Client Property Management (Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.04, subdivision 13)

2 – Health and Safety (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 2)

3 – Client Rights and protections as outlined in 245I.12 (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 3)

4 – Program Grievance Procedure (Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.04, subdivision 1, paragraph (g))

5 – Behavioral Emergencies (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 4)

6 – Vulnerable Adult Mandated Reporting Policy (Minnesota Statutes, sections 626.557, 245A.65 subdivision 1 and 245I.03, subdivision 6)

7 – Maltreatment of Minors Policy (Minnesota Statutes, sections 260E and 245I.03, subdivision 6)

8 – Program Abuse Prevention Plan (Minnesota Statutes, sections 626.557, subdivision 14 and 245A.65 subdivision 1)

9 – Critical Incident Reporting as outlined in 245I.13 (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 7)

10 – Good Faith Reporting (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 8, paragraph (2))

11 – Sexual Contact Violations (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 8, paragraph (3))

12 – Prohibiting Abuse (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 8, paragraph (4))

13 – Drug and Alcohol Policy (Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.04, subdivision 1, paragraph (c) and section 245I.03, subdivision 8, paragraph (5))

14 – Process for discipline (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 8, paragraph (6))

15 – License holder’s response (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 8, paragraph (7))

16 – Job Descriptions (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 8, paragraph (8))

17 – Staff Training Plan (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.05, subdivision 1)

18 – Volunteers (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 9)

19 – Data Privacy (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.03, subdivision 10)

20 – Reporting the Death of an Individual Served by the Program (Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.04, subdivision 16)

21 – Plan for Transfer of Clients and Records Upon Closure (Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.04, subdivision 15a) – does not include securing the other party to sign

22 – Admission Referrals and Determinations (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.23, subdivision 17)

23 – Admission Criteria Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.23, subdivision 15) AND/OR Residential Crisis Stabilization (RCS) (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.23, subdivision 16)

24 – Discharge Standards (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.23, subdivision 18)

25 – Quality Assurance Plan (Minnesota Statutes, section 245I.23, subdivision 23)

26 – Emergency Overdose Policy (Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.242, subd. 1)


What do I need to Start?

DHS requires that before a future program can be licensed as an IRTS facility, they must have a location to open their program that meets requirements and separate state licenses, however, because the Minnesota Department of Health asks for license information on their applications, it is important to have started the license process with DHS so a contact person can be provided to the Department of Health. The application process for the facility can be done concurrently with the application for the IRTS program.


What are the staffing requirements to open an IRTS facility?

The bare minimum staff that are required to obtain a DHS license to be an IRTS provider are:

  1. Program Director (qualifies at minimum as a mental health practitioner)

To qualify as a Mental Health Practitioner, one must meet a combination of education and work experience requirements, only work experience requirements, only education requirements, or a combination of work experience and treatment supervision requirements. 

Click here for a detailed list of qualifications for mental health practitioners. 

  1. Treatment Director (mental health professional)

A Mental Health Professional could be an LICSW, LPCC, advanced practice registered nurse, physician, psychologist, etc. 

Click here for a detailed list of qualifications for mental health professionals. 

  1. Registered Nurse (qualified as a mental health practitioner at the program at least eight hours per week)

One person can qualify and meet the requirements for two of these roles. For example, the program director could also be the registered nurse, or the treatment director could also be the registered nurse, if they had the additional certifications or training to be qualified as a mental health professional. 

Additional staff that can be hired on once the program is licensed or grows:

  • Mental health professional
  • Certified rehabilitation specialist
  • Clinical trainee
  • Mental health practitioner
  • Mental health rehabilitation worker
  • Mental health certified peer specialist



1. Onboarding (1-2 Days)
We send onboarding documents to you 1-2 business days after your initial consultation. Onboarding documents include a Representation Agreement and Invoice.
2. Questionnaire (1-2 Days)
After we receive the onboarding documents back, we will send you an IRTS questionnaire. This generally takes clients 1-2 days to complete and we are available if you have any questions as you go through the questionnaire.
3. Statement of Need Request and Securing Property (May take 2-4 Months)

If you have not obtained a Letter of Need from the county in which you will be opening your IRTS program, it can take up to 60 days from when you submit the request. You will also need to find a property to either purchase or rent for your program. This can take a varying amount of time.

4. 30 Minute Call to Gather Information (2-4 business days depending on schedules) After you complete and submit your questionnaire back to Holt Law, we will reach out to you to schedule a 30 minute call to gather more information about your IRTS program so we can tailor the policies to your program and facility.
5. Complete Application and Send Documents (3 to 4 Weeks)
Holt Law will write up your IRTS program policies that are to be submitted for the IRTS application with DHS. Once they are complete, we will send you the documents electronically.
6. DHS Application Review (2-3 Months)
DHS generally takes between two to three months to assign you a licensor and review your policies. Your assigned licensor will then reach out to you to set up a video meeting to review your policies, check in about the status of your facility property, and go over next steps. At this first meeting, the licensor will also request a mock file to be submitted by you. We will join you on the call with DHS.
7. Submission of Revised Policies to DHS Licensor (2-3 Weeks)

We will revise the policies we wrote for your application according to the DHS licensor’s feedback and submit them back to the licensor.

8. Additional Meeting with DHS for Facility Requirements (1-2 Months. Can be as little as one month or can be as much as two months)
If your facility does not pass certain codes or you have been unable to obtain all the approvals you need, this step may take an additional couple of months as you continue to work with the DHS licensor through this process.
A DHS licensor will need to do a site visit and specifically go over your program abuse prevention plan.
9. Receipt of DHS License
10. MHCP Enrollment (30-60 Days)
Once you receive your IRTS license from DHS, you will need to complete MHCP Provider Enrollment and contract with insurance companies for future service reimbursement.



Rates/Reimbursement for Services:

During the application process, you will be guided through rate setting with DHS. Here is a PDF that shows IRTS Provider Rates Approved by DHS (2023).



Additional Resources

Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS)

Residential Adult Mental Health Programs

Statues and Rules

The following Minnesota Statutes and Rule apply to these services:

Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245A (Human Services Licensing Act)

Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245C (Human Services Background Studies Act)

Minnesota Statutes, sections 626.557 and 626.5572 (Vulnerable Adults Act)

Minnesota Rules, parts 9520.0500 to 9520.0690 (Residential Programs for Mentally Ill Adults)

Minn Stat 245I




Can one individual meet the requirements for 2 of the roles?

Yes, Example: Program Director can be Registered Nurse OR Treatment Director can be RN if qualified as a mental health professional.

Do I have to have my location set in stone before this process?

While we can start writing up your policies for submission, you will need a location for your facility before submitting the application. 

Does the firm help with contracting with insurance companies post approval?


How long does this process take?

Roughly a year in all, primarily depending on DHS turnaround time and successfully completed applications with no missing information. 

Read more about IRTS on our blog

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