Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Carroll County Board of Supervisors may not agree on how to move forward with state-mandated regionalizing  of mental-health services, however, they all agree whatever happens needs to be what’s best for consumers.

The supervisors also agree that Carroll County is in a unique situation, one that’s second-to-none in the state, as Supervisor Dan Nieland said.

Supervisors chairman Mark Beardmore has been speaking out against Carroll County regionalizing mental-health services, saying it’s not wise for the county to spend its nearly $3 million in reserves on other counties’ consumers.

He’s also said he believes if Carroll County is forced to regionalize, it could be unconstitutional if the county is forced to pool its reserves.

Beardmore said his initial feeling with the situation has been that Carroll County needs to opt out of regionalization.

He said he hopes the board can have a decision by next Monday so everything can move forward effectively.

Beardmore even suggested that the board turn in an opt-out application as soon as possible.

He said he believes the county can turn in as many opt-out forms as it would like before the May 1 deadline and the state will have to reply within 45 days of the application being turned in.

Beardmore also said he thinks now is a good time to act because the rules committee is still in the process of making rules for regionalization.

Supervisor Marty Danzer said the county needs to slow down with any action because the rules haven’t been written yet.

“I don’t think we need to act on this fast, I think we need to leave the door open as far as opting out,” Danzer said.

He said he believes the worst case scenario for the county is that it’s left out in the cold after the state denies the waiver to stand alone.

He said he doesn’t think large region is the way to go. He said he’d like to look into a region that has three to five counties.

Danzer said he doesn’t want to burn any bridges with Dawn Mentzer, Carroll and Buena Vista counties’ CPC by automatically opting out.

About working with Mentzer, Danzer said, “That’s the best thing that’s ever happened, I want to keep an open mind.”

Mentzer is also in what could possibly be a unique situation. She is a CPC for two counties, however, after regionalizationg there will only be regional administrators.

This means if either county joins a region Mentzer may have to leave the other behind. If she is able to acquire a job as a regional administrator, she will not have the time to work with a six-county region plus another county or several more counties.

Mentzer was unable to join the meeting on Monday.

Supervisor Neil Bock suggested maybe Buena Vista County, too, would opt out and everything could stay the same.

He said there are many different ways Carroll County could connect with three contiguous counties.

Bock said he doesn’t believe the board has to come to an immediate decision, however, he hopes the board has an open mind toward standing alone.

He also said the county needs to make sure that Great Plains Area Mental Health Center can provide the three services Carroll County would need to stand alone.

The services would be family and peer support services and health homes.

Bock said another fear about joining a region is that if any county is unable to join a region, the state can assign that county to whatever region it would like, so a three-county region could be turned into a five-county region easily.

He said that when everything is said and done, everyone in the county is going to be paying $47.28, and it needs to be about how to get the best services for consumers from that money.

About the whole situation, Supervisor Gene Meiners said he’s open to both sides of the debate.

“I am leaning toward opting out,” Meiners said. He added he is also concerned about what will happen if the county isn’t allowed to opt out.

Meiners said he agrees that a large region isn’t the way to go.