Mental health region is under budget, Lincoln says

“Financially, we’re very stable.”

The mental health care region of which Webster County is a part is not only under its current fiscal year budget, but it’s also under its re-estimated fiscal year budget.

Bob Lincoln, chief executive officer of County Social Services, the 22-county region which includes Webster County, said in a presentation to the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the region is actually 5 percent under its re-estimated budget.

Lincoln told the supervisors that CSS’s original budget was $18 million.

“After we had six months of experience, we realized that we were well under our original budget and we adjusted our projection,” he said.

The re-estimated budget is at $15.6 million.

“Now we’re at a place where we’re maintaining and actually now we’re back to generating a bit of a surplus,” he told the supervisors.

Everything is looking good in terms of money.

“Financially, we’re very stable,” he said.

To better illustrate how CSS is using its funds, Lincoln also presented the first draft of a service report, detailing what services the money is going towards.

He stressed that it is still a first draft and changes are likely to be made.

Over the first quarter of 2019, 318 individuals in the western quadrant — which includes Webster County — have been served by CSS.

Additionally, Lincoln said the western quadrant has provided 7,204 services and has logged 38 information and referral hours.

He highlighted the differences between core services, which are required by the state to be provided, and additional core services, which are not yet mandated but could be in the future.

“They’re investments we’ve made filling the gaps and services that we believe our community needed and we’re validated by that with House File 2456,” he said, “which now next year, or within the next two years, will move most of these additional core services up to core services.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed House File 2456 into law in March 2018. It impact behavioral issued, including involuntary commitments and hospitalizations, as well as the disclosure of information regarding them.

Lincoln said additional core services include crisis stabilization, residential services and evidence-based treatment.

By investing in those additional services, Lincoln said CSS is staying ahead of the curve.

“We’ve gone beyond the mandates,” he said. “We’ve anticipated the expansion. We use our reserve dollars to invest and build out a service system in anticipation of the needs of the state and our community.”

He also explained a potential discrepancy that comes up when adding all the people served by the quadrants and the total.

“There’s a fair number of folks that we serve that, at the time of reporting, are not residents of the region,” he said. “We’re serving, in many cases, a very transient population. We can serve people for a long term.”

Lincoln said residency is part of the reason why the mental health region was created, because he said before the region came about, counties would often argue about who would be in charge of treatment.

“Now we don’t worry about where you’re from,” he said. “If you’re here, you’re ours and we will see that your needs are met.”

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