Health and Human Services Department readies for move


This month, the Mille Lacs Band’s Health and Human Services (HHS) department will begin the move to a beautiful new headquarters in District I.

The building will bring most HHS programs and staff under the same roof, providing more convenient service to Band members as well as more effective collaboration within the department.

"We're so excited to start providing services to Band members in our new building," said HHS Commissioner Nicole Anderson. "Not only will it provide state-of-the-art health care, but it is also a warm and welcoming environment for our Band members working with Family Services, the Substance Use Program, Public Health, and Community Support Services. The vision was to provide a 'one-stop shop' for the Health and Human Services Department, and we’re close to making that a reality."

The move will begin June 18 with the pharmacy, dental services, clinic, administration, Circle of Health, and Family Services. The next day, the Community Support Services programs will move, including commodities and Emergency Services, although the food warehouse will remain in its current location near the powwow grounds.

On June 22, the department will have a "soft go-live" for troubleshooting IT, phones, and processes in the new space.
HHS staff ask that clients and patients be patient during the transition. Completing such a major move during a pandemic is a tremendous challenge.

Hannah Hollenkamp, who coordinated the transition, is grateful for the support of the HHS team during the process. "Through and through, the foundation of great teamwork made this possible," said Hannah.

Her team determined deliverables and established milestones, and although they missed some, they pressed on. "There have been several extraordinary moments, but we stayed focused and delivered. I would like to take the time to thank Commissioner Anderson for believing in us to get this task accomplished, and I am grateful to be working for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe community."

The 85,000-square-foot facility in District I is situated on the west side of Timber Trail Road across from the Bugg Hill neighborhood. Construction began in 2017 after a dish-setting ceremony to start the project off in a good way.

The Mille Lacs Band commissioned Seven Generations Architecture and Engineering to provide full design services for the clinic, which houses Health and Human Services administration and all HHS departments: Health Services, Family Services, Public Health, Community Support Services, and Substance Use Disorder Services.

The facility will provide a central location for Band members to access medical care formerly housed in Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic: general practice health services, dental, pharmacy, imaging/radiology, lab, and optometry. The clinic has also been built to accommodate urgent care in the future if the need arises.

The building is divided into two wings to separate clinic functions from other HHS services. The clinical wing will accommodate general health clinic functions on the first floor and specialty services (i.e., imaging, lab, and dental services) directly above on the second floor.

The wing opposite will accommodate all other HHS services and will include offices, collaborative work areas, conference rooms, and a pharmacy.

The HHS building is adjacent to the new District I Community Center, and a housing development has also been started in the vicinity.

The project began under former HHS Commissioner Sam Moose and was approved and funded by the previous Band Assembly, composed of Secretary/Treasurer Carolyn Beaulieu and Representatives Sandra Blake, David ’Niib’ Aubid, and Harry Davis.