Riverwood Centers close Monday, reasons 'purely financial' - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Riverwood Centers close Monday, reasons 'purely financial'

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BRAHAM, Minn. (KMSP) -

Riverwood Centers has served 6 different communities for the past 50 years, but closed Monday leaving thousands without mental health services.

The 6 communities, Braham, Cambridge Milaca, Mora, North Branch and Pine City serve around 3,000 patients a month, covering 14 different psychological areas.

On Monday, the facility was scrambling to notify its patients while 75 employees start the search for a new job.

Lori Lausen is making the hardest call of her life.

"I won't be able to see your kids anymore," she said over the phone to a parent.

Lausen is a family and child therapist at Riverwood Centers in Braham, and now, she's busy finding her 35 clients another mental health facility as her office is being shut down..

"It's the saddest thing possible because some of these kids, I'm the only consistent adult in their life and now I feel I'm being ripped away from them," Lausen said.

Riverwood Centers was created to take on discharged patients from psychiatric hospitals, people who didn't need institutionalization but still needed mental health care.

"The community mental health centers were created as a safety net lately the institution without walls," executive director Kevin Wojahn said.

Wojahn said he's been working for months but could not come up with the funding to keep the doors open.

"The reasons we are closing are purely financial," he said.

For the past week, Wojahn said they've been trying to find their 3,000 patients other facilities to go to but he believes 10 to 15 percent of the clients will have a tough time getting care right away.

"Some of the clients really are struggling with the abruptness of our closure," Wojahn said.

As for employees, 75 are losing their jobs and already lost health benefits at the end of February. The Wojahn saying Riverwood Centers couldn't pay the bill, but promising employees will be paid through Monday.

"I heard the agency is closing and my heart felt like it fell through my foot," Lausen said.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

24-hour crisis hotline : 800-523-3333

Medical records delivery: 320-396-3333

Medical record release form fax number: 320-396-3363

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