The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

March 18, 2014

Mental health services region takes shape

CLINTON — The Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region is beginning to take shape and looks to be on par with an April 1 target deadline.

During a Monday meeting the Board of Supervisors signed an intergovernmental 28E agreement to approve the joining of Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott counties as the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region to serve together as a separate legal entity.

While the agreement still has to be approved by the Iowa Department of Human Services and filed with the Secretary of State once all five counties are approved by their governing bodies, Clinton County Mental Health Director Becky Eskildsen was relieved by the board’s approval.

“It’s been two years since we started working on this, April of 2012,” Eskildsen said. “Now, we’re just waiting for signatures from all five boards and it will go through pretty easily I believe. So at least the first hurdle is crossed there.”

Once all five boards approve the intergovernmental agreements, the group will also be required to have an initial management plan and an annual services and budget plan submitted by that April 1 deadline as well.

Eskildsen anticipates she will have copies of both plans available to the Board of Supervisors by Monday for review.

In addition to approving the 28E agreement, the Board of Supervisors also appointed supervisor Brian Schmidt to serve as the director on the Governing Board of Directors for the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region.

Schmidt will join four supervisors from the member counties as well as two non-officio representatives.

“One representing a provider within the five-county area and then another person representing individuals with disabilities, either a family member or an individual themselves,” Eskildsen said.

Despite facing difficulties and challenges during the two-year reorganization process, Eskildsen is feeling reassured that the April 1 deadline is within reach for the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region.

“There have been some issues and some concerns but, that’s OK,” Eskildsen said. “We’ll work through it and if it doesn’t work in another year or two we can always go back to another format too.”

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