Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

March 21, 2013

Counties Meet to Discuss Mental Health District

(Continued)

Oskaloosa —

The four counties are expected to pool their resources for the new mental health district. This includes money raised through county property tax levies. Though nothing is finalized, the CPC's indicated that funding levels established for each county will be based on an equal per capita amount. This money would be collected and pooled to fund mental health services in all four counties. Details of this will be worked out in the final 28E agreement. 

Jetter was asked if paying staff for the new regional mental health district model would take money away from providing mental health service to residents in need. Her response was that she "didn't think so" and that administering the new process could be done so with the current level of funding specified for this. 

The fiscal aspect of the mental health district is still in limbo. No one, not even DHS, knows what kind of impact changes to Medicaid will have on mental health or County funding for such programs. 

Scrutiny has increased for regional boards, such as the one that will govern this mental health district, has intensified in the years since the discovery that the paid, unelected director of the Central Iowa Employment Training Consortium (CIETC) misused hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. The proposed structures provided to those in attendance today resembled the composition of the now-defunct CIETC board. When asked about it, Jetter said the legislation that created this new mental health system clearly defines the level of accountability necessary for mental health districts. She said transparency is a key part of the future of this system and all meetings with the board will be open to the public. CIETC's board meetings were also open. 

Marion County Supervisor Mark Raymie agreed that transparency is vital to the success of this endeavor. He spoke on behalf of the Marion County Board, and believes the sentiment of the other boards of supervisors, when he said that protecting taxpayer money, including prudent stewardship, is their top priority. 

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