Four Siouxland counties band together for mental health redesign
By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
STORM LAKE, Iowa (KTIV) -
Tuesday, the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors agreed to join with three other counties to distribute mental health services collectively.
In the past, Iowa counties managed on their own. But last year, the state mandated a redesign to equalize the quality of mental health services in each of Iowa's 99 counties.
Buena Vista is proposing a team-up with Calhoun, Crawford and Sac County. BV officials say it's a good fit because they already work closely with the group.
Together they'll create a governance board to oversee everything, made up of one supervisor from each county.
Officials say the counties plan to manage their own funds individually, unless they miss out on some needed state dollars this year. That might force them to pool resources.
"Equalization funding and transition funding. They are two different pools of money that need to be appropriated for this to be a workable region for us," said Buena Vista Mental Health CPC Dawn Mentzer.
Supervisors from all four counties will sign and send a letter to Iowa's Department of Human Services asking for the union on March 21st. DHS will have final say on if it's approved.
"DHS will review all the regions that have made applications. They may not like the way some regions are set up, and could reassign. They may split us up in four different directions," said Buena Vista County Supervisor Paul Merten.
Supervisors expect to hear back by June. They say moving from the individual to region format shouldn't affect their current quality of service.
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