In the criminal justice system, judges frequently encounter people who are in need of behavioral health services. However, after leaving the judicial system, mental health care for an individual is often not continued. The discontinuation of care is not only detrimental to the individual, but also to the society in which that individual lives due to higher rates of recidivism, or tendency to reoffend, if mental health illnesses are left unmanaged. 

The Judges and Psychiatrist Leadership Initiative helps merge together medicine and judiciary experts to help remedy this national mental health crisis inside and outside the courtroom.This initiative gives the opportunity for judges and psychiatrists to work together, helping patients treat their mental health needs and build a meaningful life in their community after exiting the criminal justice system. 

The JPLI has 3 core priority areas to reach this goal:

  1. Enhance connections between judges and psychiatrists.
  2. Increase the reach of trainings to improve patient and public safety outcome.
  3. Develop educational resources to help judges understand what best practices to use.

There are 15 psychiatrists in the nation that have been chosen to lead this initiative, and one of them is from the greater Sioux Falls, SD, area. MWI Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Clay Pavlis, M.D., has been selected to be one of these passionate, licensed psychiatrists to guide the JPLI. This will ultimately stimulate support and enhance efforts to improve judicial, community, and systemic responses to people with behavioral health needs. 

Dr. Pavlis will be traveling to the American Psychiatric Association headquarters in Washington, D.C. on September 10th-12th. He will be training judges on the behavioral health needs that are prevalent in the courtroom. Ultimately, this will be a series of events that will help advance the national response to mental illness inside the courtroom.

MWI Health was selected as South Dakota’s Youth Services Grievance Monitor Program administrator in April 2022, launching the program on July 1, 2022. This program partners MWI Health with DSS to attempt to resolve grievance complaints by a grievance monitor in an unbiased and professional manner.

The monitor’s primary responsibility is to receive and attempt to resolve complaints related to the quality of care provided to youth placed in the custody or care of any of the following:
• An intensive residential treatment center
• A residential treatment center
• A group care center
• An independent living preparation program
• A shelter care facility

A grievance is an official statement of complaint. A grievance can be made when there is a real or perceived wrong, or other cause for complaint or protest. This program aims to promote and assist in ensuring the quality of care that children placed in youth care facilities are receiving is of the highest quality. A grievance can be filed by youth who are placed in the custody or care of a licensed youth care facility. Additionally, parents, guardians, family members, or staff may also submit a grievance.

To submit a grievance, the following options are provided:
● Online at
● Drop off your concern at our secure lockbox at the facility
● Call MWI Health at (605) 573-2000 and ask to file a grievance

● Request a printed copy of the grievance form and a pre-addressed and stamped envelope will be sent directly to you
● Download, print, and mail the grievance using the link above. You may mail the grievance to MWI Health, 4308 S. Arway Dr., Sioux Falls, SD 57106.
MWI Health was formed in 2012 by Clay Pavlis, M.D. focused on providing top quality mental health services in underserved areas around Minnesota and South Dakota. Based in Sioux Falls, SD, Dr. Pavlis and his team have developed a business focused on strong contract partnerships with mental health centers, inpatient and outpatient clinics, nursing homes, correctional facilities including prisons and jails, and other entities. MWI Health has become an organization that provides exceptional healthcare and social services while being recognized regionally for its strong reputation of quality and expertise.

MWI Health’s Program Coordinator, Abby Parlett, has been a registered nurse in South Dakota since 1993. As a former Director of Nursing, she brings decades of experience in mental health care, developmental disability services and supports, skilled rehabilitation, and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation from her years of service in skilled and residential care facilities. Her depth of experience and kindhearted demeanor have made her the perfect fit to coordinate South Dakota’s Youth Services Grievance Monitor Program.

Questions can be directed to the Grievance Monitor Program Coordinator by calling (605) 573- 2000 between the hours of 8am-5pm CST M-F or by emailing MWI’s office at

MWI Health is excited to announce a new contract partnership with Capital Area Counseling Service out of Pierre, South Dakota. Dr. Clay Pavlis is their new Medical Director, and he will be joined by Dr. Christopher Davidson, Psychiatrist, and Paula Tofte, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. CACS has a strong reputation for providing services to those who need them, and was chosen as the winner of the 2018 Bush Prize for Community Innovation. With a motto, “Empowering Central South Dakotans to Build Better Tomorrows”, we truly look forward to continuing their focus with quality mental health care.

Since March of this year, Americans have been forced to face unprecedented closures with a goal of “flattening the curve” to protect their families, friends, co-workers, and communities from the deadly virus known as COVID-19. Suddenly, terms like “social distancing” and “distance learning” became common, and the stigma of remote working has lifted as laws, regulations, and the desire to protect against the spread have obligated even the least technology-savvy workers to embrace a whole new world of teleconferencing and working from home. For many people that were thrown into the challenges of a new world –working from home, businesses, colleges, schools, and daycare center closures– there were also feelings of relief that they still were able to collect a paycheck. For those that were not so fortunate, they had to navigate a burdened system of filing for unemployment or face the moral dilemma of putting their health at risk to continue to bring home a paycheck. Many school children and parents have faced feelings of loss for lost field trips, proms, graduations, award banquets, concerts, activities, celebrations, vacations, weddings, birthday parties, time with friends, and the list could go on and on. For others, they have battled amplified anxiety, facing overwhelming thoughts of getting sick and possibly dying, losing sleep over their concern for loved ones that were small business owners with an uncertain future, and depression compounded by the loss of face-to-face support networks.

At MWI Health, each of our contract partners have had to make adjustments to the methods used to get mental health care to patients while protecting the health and safety of them, the providers, and the staff. Some facilities adapted more quickly than others, just as some patients were more flexible to the changes than others, but our team of providers rallied around them with the familiarity that we already had with telehealth. MWI Health was often turned to by our contract partners as the “experts in telepsychiatry” in our area. Schedules changed, with patient care needs ebbing and flowing from day to day. The uncertainties that patients were facing became evident, with appointment cancellations due to loss of insurance coverage and, on the other side of the coin, new patient evaluations because of stressors that inflamed mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

People across the world have been pushed to change how they live and work out of necessity for their health and safety, and what our future holds is still uncertain and scary, but it is obvious that mental health has become more important than ever. Seeing a need for immediate access to in-home telepsychiatry care, we are now offering online scheduling for initial psychiatry evaluations for only $250 for up to 60 minutes, and have also made it easier for our existing patients to schedule online for medication management sessions or our Suboxone treatment clinic for opioid addiction.

While social distancing has a tendency to bring out feelings of loneliness and isolation, we are encouraged that the stigma on mental health is waning right along with the stigma of working from home, and that gives us hope for individuals that previously have felt that they shouldn’t reach out for help. As everyone battles their mental and physical health during this challenging time of their lives with the isolation of social distancing, there is a sense of solidarity across the world that we are all in this together. If you are battling anxiety or depression, you are not alone. There is hope, and we are here. Schedule a session with an MWI Health provider today.

MWI Health is pleased to announce that our team of providers is now working with Community Counseling Services to expand mental health care in the established CCS clinics of Huron, Madison and Flandreau, along with area nursing homes including Bethel Lutheran Home in Madison, SD, Avantara Arlington in Arlington, SD, Sunquest Healthcare Center in Huron, SD, and Good Samaritan Society in Howard, SD. Our providers Dr. Clay Pavlis, Psychiatrist, Abbey Kitto, DNP and Paula Tofte, PMHNP, treat patients using a team approach to quality mental health treatment, seeing patients both face-to-face and via secure telehealth connections. With our team approach, patients should never have to miss out on an appointment due to inclement weather or when a prescriber is out of the office due to illness, vacation, or additional training.

For more information on services provided or to schedule an appointment, please contact CCS at 605-352-8596 in Huron or 605-256-9656 in Madison.

Dr. Clay Pavlis, Owner and Chief Medical Officer of MWI Health, is proud to welcome Kyle Korver as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer. Korver joins the team following a 21-year career in the United States Air Force with experience in organizational leadership, personnel development, and strategic planning. He looks forward to expanding MWI Health’s partnerships and their network of mental health providers.

According to Dr. Pavlis, “Kyle is joining us at a pivotal time as we strive to increase mental health support in an underserved region. I’m excited about the energy, leadership and management skills he brings to our team.”

When asked about the adjustment from military to civilian life, Korver stated, “I look forward to the challenge of leading an organization in a different field from my military specialty of logistics. It’s definitely a big transition, so the opportunity to join such a talented and diverse team is a great bridge into my next chapter in a civilian career. I’m inspired by the tremendous potential of this organization.”

MWI Health has clinics in Flandreau, SD and Marshall, MN. They also provide mental and behavioral health services to senior living facilities, correctional facilities and other health clinics around the region. Call 507-337-0556 to inquire about services including psychiatric evaluations, medication management, counseling, TMS for depression, and suboxone therapy for opioid addiction.

Midwest Wellness Institute, PLLC, and Dr. Clay Pavlis, Psychiatric Medical Director, are pleased to welcome Darla Huffman, MS, Licensed Professional Counselor – Mental Health, QMHP, to the team. Meeting with clients from Midwest’s office in Flandreau, SD, she brings 15 years of counseling experience, working with couples, individuals, adolescent/teens and families to an underserved region. Huffman is now scheduling new patients on Wednesday mornings and is excited about the opportunity to offer mental health services in a community like Flandreau.

“I put a high value on developing relationships that are built on trust, authenticity, and empowerment in my therapy sessions. A person’s character, spirit, and personal strength are really my focus when we are working together to deal with issues like grief and loss, depression, anxiety, relationship and family problems, unresolved struggles, abuse, and life adjustments,” explains Huffman. “The community of Flandreau, while only 40 minutes from Sioux Falls, is
distinctly different, and I feel honored to be able to help people in and around Flandreau develop strategies to find their paths through the issues they are facing. For many people, making the drive down to the city is a barrier to getting the help that they need, so it’s important to be able to bring quality care to them.”

Huffman’s desire to bring quality care to those in need doesn’t stop at the teens, adults, and couples that she has connected to over the past 15 years since getting her Master’s in Counseling and Human Resource Development from South Dakota State University in 2003. She will also bring mental health services to patients in Dells Nursing and Rehab Center in Dell Rapids, SD, as well as other nursing homes in the area with the support of Dr. Pavlis at Midwest Wellness Institute. “Mental health care at skilled nursing facilities is an area that many people don’t think much about unless you have a loved one needing care. With the numerous smaller facilities in our area that are located many miles from mental health providers, I have wanted to be able to bring care directly to those who struggle with traveling distances the most. By adding licensed providers like Darla to the team, I am able to make a much wider impact and bring care to people that need our help the most,” says Dr. Pavlis. “I am really proud of my team and their hearts for taking care of people.”

To schedule a counseling session with Darla Huffman, MS, LPC-MH, QMHP, call 605-573-2000.

The United States is in the midst of a medical crisis that rivals the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1990’s. Last year’s death toll from opioid addiction in the U.S.alone was more than 60,000 people from all walks of life, all ages, and all races… and it is showing no signs of slowing. How will this story end?

We’d like to introduce you to a 32-year-old stay-at-home mom who we’ll refer to as Jessica. The mother of a beautiful 4-month-old daughter, Jessica has recently transitioned from working in an enjoyable career. She didn’t expect to have an emergency C-Section, nor for the delivery to be as difficult as it was. While in the hospital, Jessica was given pills for pain. It took awhile to recover from the surgery and Jessica continued to rely on the feeling that the little pills gave her. When her prescription ran out, she began taking an old prescription that her husband had from a back injury a few months prior. What worries Jessica now is that when she misses a dose she feels itchy, sweaty, shaky and irritable. How will her story end?

Next we will introduce you to a young adult that we will call Mike. At 20-years-old, Mike grew up in a comfortable yet controlling middle-class home with little decision-making power of his own. When he moved out at 18, he wanted to test his boundaries and “find himself” before the responsibilities of life consumed him. He would’ve never guessed that going to a party and getting high for the first time would lead to this feeling: a gripping, powerful desire that refuses to let him go. How will his story end?

Lastly we are going to introduce you to a 57-year-old man. His talent for music showed itself early, and by the age of 18 he had signed a recording contract and released his first album. Fans were drawn to his unique and edgy music, and wherever he went, fans all over the world would flock to him. Hidden from the public eye was a horrible secret, never revealed, for risk of fans losing faith in their icon. His fans might have stuck by him through recovery but instead are left coping with his death after he was found dead and alone. This is the end of this man’s story. His name was Prince. While it is too late to bring back Prince and others whom have lost their battles with opioid addiction, it is not too late for the millions of Americans desperately needing treatment for substance abuse. How will their stories end?

The professionals at Midwest Specialty Clinics, LLC, (now Midwest Wellness Institute) in Flandreau, SD, have completed advanced specialized training and are able to provide suboxone treatment plans that are specialized to each individual. Suboxone helps to suppress withdrawal symptoms and decrease cravings of opioids, which are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others. If you or someone you love is locked in the cycle of opioid dependence, get help today by calling 605-573-2000 for immediate openings and comprehensive, individualized treatment.

Seeking proper treatment can drastically improve the story of your life, even as it is still being written.

“Do you wait for things to happen, or do you make them happen yourself? I believe in writing your own story.” ― Charlotte Eriksson

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