Mental Health Clinics and Centers (Rule 29)

Mental health clinics and centers

Mental health center and clinic certification rules establish standards for voluntary certification for purposes of insurance and subscriber contract reimbursement.

The following is a general overview of the certification requirements for mental health centers and clinics but does not include all specific requirements. For specific requirements, see Minnesota Rules, parts 9520.0750 to 9520.0870 (DHS Rule 29) and Minnesota Statutes, sections 626.556626.557 and 626.5572.

Required plans, policies or services: The applicant must develop and implement written policies in the following areas:

Intake and case assignment

The center shall establish an intake or admission procedure that outlines the intake process, including the determination of the appropriateness of accepting a person as a client by reviewing the client’s condition and need for treatment, the clinical services offered by the center and other available resources. The center shall document that case assignment for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment is made to a multidisciplinary staff person who is competent in the service, in the recommended treatment strategy and in treating the individual client characteristics. Responsibility for each case shall remain with a mental health professional.

Assessment and diagnostic process

The center shall establish an assessment and diagnostic process that determines the client’s condition and need for clinical services. The assessment of each client shall include clinical consideration of the client’s general physical, medical, developmental, family, social, psychiatric, and psychological history and current condition. The diagnostic statement shall include the diagnosis based on the codes in the International Classification of Diseases or the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and refer to the pertinent assessment data. The diagnosis shall be by or under the supervision of and signed by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist.

Treatment planning

The individual treatment plan, based upon a diagnostic assessment of mental illness, shall be jointly developed by the client and the mental health professional. This planning procedure shall ensure that the client has been informed in the following areas: assessment of the client condition; treatment alternatives; possible outcomes and side effects of treatment; treatment recommendations; approximate length, cost and hoped-for outcome of treatment; the client’s rights and responsibilities in implementation of the individual treatment plan; and staff rights and responsibilities in the treatment process. Clinical services shall be appropriate to the condition, age, sex, socioeconomic and ethnic background of the client, and provided in the least restrictive manner.

Consultation and case review

The center shall establish standards for case review and encourage the ongoing consultation among multidisciplinary staff. The multidisciplinary staff shall attend staff meetings at least twice monthly for a minimum of four hours per month, or a minimum of two hours per month if the multidisciplinary staff person provides clinical services in the treatment of mental illness less than 15 hours per week. The purpose of these meetings shall be case review and consultation.

Emergency service

The center shall ensure that clinical services to treat mental illness are available to clients on an emergency basis.

Access to hospital

The center shall document that it has access to hospital admission for psychiatric inpatient care, and shall provide that access when needed by a client. This requirement for access does not require direct hospital admission privileges on the part of qualified multidisciplinary staff.

Minimum Staffing Standards

The multidisciplinary staff of a center shall consist of at least four mental health professionals. At least two of the mental health professionals shall each be employed or under contract for a minimum of 35 hours a week by the center. Those two mental health professionals shall be of different disciplines. The mental health professional staff shall include a psychiatrist and a licensed psychologist. The mental health professionals employed or under contract to the center shall be at the main office of the center and providing clinical services in the treatment of mental illness at least eight hours every two weeks.

Additional staff; staffing balance

Additional mental health professional staff may be employed by or under contract to the center provided that no single mental health discipline or combination of allied fields shall comprise more than 60 percent of the full-time equivalent mental health professional staff. This provision does not apply to a center with fewer than six full-time equivalent mental health professional staff. Mental health practitioners may also be employed by or under contract to a center to provide clinical services for the treatment of mental illness in their documented area of competence. Mental health practitioners shall not comprise more than 25 percent of the full-time equivalent multidisciplinary staff.


Client record – The center shall maintain a client record for each client. The record must document the assessment process, the development and updating of the treatment plan, the treatment provided and observed client behaviors and response to treatment, and serve as data for the review and evaluation of the treatment provided to a client.

Staff record – The center shall maintain records sufficient to document that the center has determined and verified the clinical service qualifications of each multidisciplinary staff person, and sufficient to document each multidisciplinary staff person’s terms of employment.

Certification process

To begin the initial certification process, the applicant must:

  • Submit completed license application forms (PDF) provided by DHS.
  • Provide Social Security and Minnesota business identification numbers.
  • Submit a nonrefundable initial license application fee. The fee is $500.

Statutes and rules

The following Minnesota Statutes and Rules apply to these services:

Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245A (Human Services Licensing Act) 
Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556 (Maltreatment of Minors Act) 
Minnesota Statutes, section 626.557 and 626.5572 (Vulnerable Adults Act) 
Minnesota Rules, parts 9520.0750 to 9520.0870

Holt Law provides representation in this area for a reasonable flat fee.

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