Jasper County Community Services director Jody Eaton presented her department’s annual report Tuesday morning at the regular meeting of the Jasper County Board of Supervisors.
Eaton, who serves as the county’s Central Point of Coordination for mental health and developmentally disabled services, started her report with a quick discussion of the Jasper County Stakeholders’ three-year strategic plan.
“Jasper County Stakeholders strive to support improved access and services for individuals with mental illness, mental retardation or developmental disabilities,” she said. She continued with a brief summary of the department’s progress for fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30.
She said Community Service Department staff and local stakeholders continue attending and collaborating with the United Way’s Impact Team. In addition to Jasper County MH/DD consumers and their family members, “stakeholders” includes the following organizations:
• Department of Human Services
• Community Services Department/CPC
• Targeted Case Management
• Optimae Life Services
• House of Mercy
• Progress Industries
• Capstone Behavioral Healthcare Inc.
• Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency
• Lutheran Services in Iowa
• National Alliance on Mental Illness
• Community MH/DD advocates
Eaton also noted newspaper articles and monthly newsletters by and for MH/DD consumers continued to be published. And, Kiwanis has been encouraging participation in Aktion Club meetings at Progress Industries, she added.
Eaton also noted the county’s website was upgraded in September of 2011. It now includes links to applications and information necessary for MH/DD consumers, as well as a categorical resource guide for area residents.
She also noted “Mental Health First Aid” was offered within Jasper County in February, and that Jasper County sponsored four individuals’ attendance at the 2012 Recovery in Iowa Conference.
“Optimae Life Services has opened two 24-hour sites, decreasing the number of individuals served in [residential care facilities],” she said. “Another area identified for enhancement was to provide opportunities for individuals to volunteer in the community. Progress Industries partnered with local organizations.”
These organizations include:
• Salvation Army
• Jasper County Animal Rescue League
• Center for Arts and Artists
• Kid Assist
• Jasper County Elderly Nutrition
“Additional units of transportation were needed for this enhancement,” Eaton said. “The program has been successful and individuals with disabilities are giving to their community.”
Eaton said she met with providers regarding expanding core services identified by the state’s mental health redesign legislation. Additionally, she said peer-to-peer services were identified as a need, which is being developed by Optimae Life Services.
“Four individuals currently receiving services were sponsored to attend a training conference,” she said.
Eaton said focus groups for the strategic plan goals met throughout the year to execute action steps and to prepare future objectives. She said stakeholder members joined local impact teams and attended meetings, as well.
“Stakeholders also attend human service provider meetings monthly to gain knowledge of all programs available in the county,” she said. “[I] met with individuals throughout the year to review gaps in services. Annual reports are used to compare data on services.”
More than $4.3 million was spent on accrued mental health expenditures in FY 2012. County MH/DD services are funded through a combination of federal and state tax dollars, as well as through local property taxes.
In the 2012 fiscal year, the Jasper County mental health system saw a net growth of 14 cases. Most of the growth occurred in the mental illness service area (22), while the chronic mental illness (minus-4) and mental retardation (minus-7) service areas saw decreases. The developmental disabilities service area (3) saw a modest increase in FY 2012.
In all, 510 consumers were served in FY 2012, of which 493 were adults. Nearly half — 254 — of those consumers were served in the mental illness area. One hundred forty-six consumers were served in the mental retardation area, while 103 were served in the chronic mental illness area. Seven consumers were served in the “other developmental disabilities” service area.
Seventy-four percent of MH/DD expenditures in FY 2012 were in the mental retardation service area. Seventeen percent was spent on chronic mental illness and 6 percent on mental illness. Two percent went to administrative costs, while 1 percent went toward developmental disability expenses.
“Sixty-two percent of expenditures from county funds go back to agencies providing services in Jasper County, Eaton said. “This includes payments directly to providers and payments made to the State of Iowa for the non-federal share of waiver services.”
As part of the mental health redesign, the county will no longer pay the non-federal share of service, which amounts to about 31 percent of expenses. As a result, the Jasper County Mental Health Levy will decrease from a cap of more than $3 million to a per-capita levy of $47.28, which is a little more than $1.7 million, in FY 2014.
In FY 2012, Jasper County did not have a waiting list. In the future, Eaton said, it may become necessary to implement one.
“Jasper County may implement a waiting list if encumbered expenses for a given fiscal year exceed MH/DD funds available,” she said. “Waiting lists may also be utilized if services requested are unavailable at the time of application.”
She added that a priority list has been established to determine the priority of services funded prior to starting a waiting list:
1. Mandated core services for the targeted population
2. Core Plus services for the targeted population
3. Transportation services for the targeted population
4. Services for individuals not included in the targeted population
Bob Eschliman can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 423 or via email at email@example.com.