WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Des Moines County to Maintain Services

Jun 4, 2012

The decision by the Iowa Legislature to revamp the state’s mental health care system has counties struggling to determine their role in the new landscape.

The state will pay for Medicaid-related services, which means counties will receive less in reimbursements.

In response, Des Moines County established waiting lists for a wide variety of services. 

CPC Administrator Ken Hyndman says the idea was to reduce spending in case the county’s budget runs short without certain state reimbursements.

He says people have been added to the waiting lists if they are new to the system, if they are seeking extra services or if they want to renew certain services.

That has led some to receive notice that their services will no longer be funded after the end of the current fiscal year, June 30.

Hyndman says that practice will slightly change as the Board of Supervisors wants the county to pay a temporary renewal of current services.  He says a plan will be put into place to extend services for up to three months.

Hyndman says the waiting lists will remain.  He says it will be people who are new to the mental health care system or those who are in need of extra services.

The board made its recommendation after meeting with a representative of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

The county is also considering a change to its eligibility requirements to meet state standards.  It would restrict county-funded services to those making 150% of the poverty level, as opposed to the 200% level currently in place.

Hyndman says he is concerned the financial impact on Des Moines County from the mental health care reform package will be worse than estimated.  He points to unresolved bills the county has yet to receive.

That is why the Board of Supervisors would like to see updated figures within the next few weeks.