Supervisors Discuss Mental Health Options
Oskaloosa, Iowa – On Monday morning, the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors discussed mental health region options, including possibly creating a two-county region with Marion County.
The state mandated counties to regionalize mental health services by July 1, 2014. The region has to be made up of at least three contiguous counties. The mental health services that are provided by Mahaska County do not change. What changes is the system is now administered under one umbrella, instead of three different counties.
Originally, Mahaska County submitted a letter of intent to form a mental health region with Jasper, Poweshiek and Marion County. Jasper County dropped out of the region in May, and now, Poweshiek County has dropped out of the region as well.
In an interview with CRI, Supervisor Mark Doland says Poweshiek County dropped out of the region because of “philosophical differences.” Doland also says that Poweshiek County did not have a lot of money to bring in to a mental health region, which is why it chose to ‘pool’ money with a larger nine-county region. Poweshiek’s region is made up of the following counties: Jasper, Warren, Madison, Marshall, Story, Boone, Hamilton, Hardin and Franklin.
Doland added that Jasper County did not give a reason as to why it dropped out.
This leaves Mahaska County and Marion County as the only two counties without a region. Jefferson County applied for a regionalization exemption but got denied, which currently leaves it without a region. However, Doland says Jefferson County will likely join the mental health region that is made up by the following counties: Keokuk, Washington, Louisa, Henry, Des Moines, Van Buren and Lee.
In the meeting, Doland discussed the possibility of creating a two-county region with Marion County. However, in order for that alternative to be viable, Mahaska County must receive an exemption from the state.
Central Point Coordinator Julie Bak says she doesn’t know what the consequences will be if the county doesn’t create a tri-county mental health region. Simply put, the state has mandated that counties regionalize, but didn’t say what would happen if a county didn’t comply. However, the legislation states that if a county does not find a region, the Department of Human Services will assist the county in finding a region to join. But a lot has to happen for that option to happen. For now, Mahaska County will pursue a two-county mental health region exemption with Marion County.
Tune in to CRI Weekly News on Friday at 6:30 p.m. on MCG channel 12 for an extended look at mental health regionalization.
In other items of the agenda, the board of supervisors unanimously approved re-appointing Supervisor Greg Gordy and David Dixon to the Public Health Board. The board also discussed appointments to the Mahaska County Solid Waste Management Commission. Each county within the commission has a set number of votes based on population, which means there’s no limit on the amount of people that represent the county on the commission because that doesn’t impact the voting system. The board of supervisors will leave the door open for interested applicants.
The board also unanimously approved the removal of Amber McQueen from the maintenance department effective Nov. 27, and the addition of Anita Golden to the maintenance department effective Dec. 2.
The next board of supervisors meeting is on Dec. 16 at 9 a.m.