by Steve Peterson
Plymouth County Supervisors approved, by a 4-0 vote, the Mental Health Transition Funds Agreement for Sioux River Mental Health Region, which consists of Plymouth, Sioux, Woodbury and Cherokee counties.
To follow the Mental Health Services Reform Act, Plymouth County’s $217,140 of transition funds has to be used by June 30, said County Central Point of Contact-General Relief Director Sharon Nieman for county funding of Mental Health transition cost reimbursement.
The region is waiting formal approval from the Department of Human Services (DHS), as part of HF 160 of the 85th General Assembly. Nieman said it is hoped that May 1 will be the approval date from DHS. Woodbury and Cherokee counties were not eligible for such Mental Health transitional funds.
“DHS is the entity responsible for drawing down the Federal Child Enrollment Contingency Funds and depositing the funds into the Mental Health and Disability Services Redesign Transition Fund,” according to the agreement.
Also according to the agreement:
• DHS shall remit funds designated in HF 160 to the county not later than two weeks following the effective date of the enactment of HF 160.
• DHS shall provide oversight of the Child Enrollment Contingency Funds’ balance and supply reporting as necessary to the federal government as required by law.
• If the county is not subject to a single audit in accordance with OMB Circular A-133, the DHS shall bear the audit costs associated with any procedures relating to the performance of audit requirements established by the DHS and the Office of the Auditor for the Federal Child Enrollment Contingency Funds allocation.
• The county shall comply with all requirements for allowable costs as stated in HF 160 and OMB Circular A-87.
• Contingency Funds are the responsibility of the county. The county shall bear the county’s costs associated with any audit requirements.
• If an audit takes exception to the Federal Child Enrollment Contingency Funds expenditures under this agreement, the county shall assume legal liability for any reimbursement of the federal funds or penalty determination resulting from the audit findings. The county shall remit these funds to the DHS within five business days of notice from the DHS or the cognizant federal authority.
• The County shall comply with any audit requirements established by DHS and the Office of the Auditor of State for the county’s expenditures relating to the allocation.
• The County must report Federal Child Enrollment Contingency Funds expended on the county’s Schedule of Expenditures of Awards (SEFA) as passed through the Iowa DHS.”
Reasons for establishing Mental Health Services regions, according to a county approved resolution in October, are assuring the provision of adequate services; maintaining local control; and protecting local taxpayers.
No other counties have joined the region since it was formed in October, 2012.
Sioux County Actions
Sioux County Supervisors approved the same Mental Health transfer agreement for $1,817 at its regular meeting April 2.
“We as a region feel pretty good about how far we have come. It’s a good fit,” said Sioux County CPC/General Relief Director Shane Walter, adding the next steps include approval formally by the counties supervisors of the 28e Agreement, the DHS approval of the region, and the State Legislature approval of the funds.
“As a region we’re in pretty good shape financially but that is contingent upon the State Legislature coming through with funds. If they don’t, we won’t be in as good a shape as will many other regions,” said Walter.
Supervisor Jack Guenthner represents Plymouth County in the Mental Health redesign process. Chairman Mark Sybesma and Supervisor Denny Wright represent Sioux County supervisors. Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) has been providing monthly meetings as well as Sioux River Mental Health region meetings.