A program in St. Paul to help poor people with mental illness stay out of the hospital appears to be successful, but it needs more money.
Last year the program helped more than 300 people with mental illness cover copay costs so they could stay on their medications.
Regions Hospital spokeswoman Jayne Quinlan said the program resulted in a 25 percent reduction in hospital stays for people helped the first time, and larger reductions for others.
"They are also reporting reductions in homelessness, jail, treatment, other areas also, and in looking at this in it's totality this could be saving tens of thousands of dollars that are being saved for the community for the hospital," Quinlan said.
Quinlan said the program also helps people with mental illness regain their insurance coverage.
Quinlan said the program cost $147,000 last year helping people in Ramsey, Dakota and Washington counties. She said the money came from St. Joseph's, Regions and United Hospitals as well as the Bigelow and the St. Paul Foundations.