MUSCATINE, Iowa—On March 31, the Iowa Department of Human Services reassigned Muscatine County to the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Region only one day after the Region rejected their request to rescind a letter asking for permission to withdraw.
Lori Elam, CEO of the Region and Scott County Community Service Director explained the Department’s decision in a letter to the Region’s governing board:
Governing Board members,
DHS contacted me this afternoon and asked that Ken Beck and I participate in a conference call with Director Garcia regarding Muscatine County and the region.
Director Garcia acknowledges the tremendous challenges our region has been through in the last 6-8 months. She understands both sides, but also has to put the most vulnerable citizens first. Our region, including Muscatine County, needs to focus on the pandemic and make sure we have services available to help individuals and families. If Muscatine County were to leave the region, it threatens the individuals served. In the current situation (pandemic), we need to band together and provide a unified front to assist our citizens in any way we can. Director Garcia is assigning Muscatine County back to the Eastern Iowa MHDS region. We have some work to do in regards to building trust and working as a team. The world is constantly changing and the fear of the unknown is increasing. Our priority must be individuals in need of services. We can do this as a TEAM- Muscatine, Cedar, Clinton, Jackson and Scott have worked together over the years and have done great things together. We need to do that now more than ever.
I will work on rolling the Muscatine County budget into the current budget approved yesterday. I will need to visit with RYC and Felicia to discuss cost for crisis services in Muscatine and incorporate those costs into the budget. Ken Beck has requested that once I get the budget rolled together, that the Governing Board have a conference call to approve it as a five county budget.
The Governing Board will need to review the 28E agreement at the April Board meeting as we have to put the children’s language in it. We will need to have the Governing Board also approve the children’s implementation plan and the revised Management Plan. All documents have to include the children’s language.
It has been a very difficult 6 months. Please help me put all this history behind us and focus on what we need to do as a region. Funding remains an issue and needs a long term solution. Additional mandates have created a lot of new work. People need services more than ever.
Thank you for serving on the Eastern Iowa MHDS Regional Governing Board.