Cass Co. Board to act on 28-E agreement for Mental Health Svcs.


June 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors, next week, are expected to take action on signing a letter of intent to join with other counties in a 28-E agreement for Mental Health services, as regionalization is required. The move will come during their regular meeting at 9-a.m., Wednesday.   Governor Terry Branstad signed legislation last week in Waterloo, that reform’s the state’s mental health system. It shakes up the current county-based format in favor of one based on “regions.”Cass County Mental Health Coordinator Teresa Kanning told the Board during their meeting Thursday (May 31st), that the Department of Human Services will not dictate to the various County Boards of Supervisors how to set-up the 28-E agreements, but there will be “boiler plate” documents (templates) available, on how those Boards may wish to proceed. 

Kanning says during a recent meeting she attended, the topic of “Transition Funding” was discussed, as it pertains to the new mandate. She said there is a source of $20-million to put into the transition process which has been identified for the counties. Those counties needing funds to aid in the transition for the coming Fiscal year, which begins July 1st, need to have their paperwork in order and apply for that money by October. When the new legislative session begins in January, the money is supposed to be in-place, ready to be dispersed. The funds are available to those counties which do not have enough money from property taxes to help pay for the costs of transition. Kanning says right now, she doesn’t think Cass County will qualify for any of those funds, unless something happens that would change that situation.

Supporters of the bill say it equalizes the quality of mental health care across Iowa. One change: the state will pick up the county’s share of Medicaid costs. Some county officials in Iowa say that in order to pay for Medicaid though, the state will take back a large chunk of their funding. That’s funding work programs for the intellectually disabled depend on.