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Fillmore County may participate in a Chemical and Mental Health Program redesign

Fri, Jul 10th, 2009
Posted in Government

Social Services Administrator Thomas Boyd discussed the progress of a twelve county effort for collaboration in the southeast region at the Fillmore County board's July 7 meeting. The effort is still in its infancy and has not been approved by any of the counties. The southeast region is applying to form the South East Minnesota Chemical Health/Dual Recovery Results Accountability Initiative as a pilot program. The central administration would probably be located in Rochester with hubs in Owatonna and Winona and service centers in each of the other counties.

The plan would coincide with Governor Tim Pawlenty's philosophy which envisions 15 Human Service Delivery Centers Statewide. It would also be in line with the Association of Minnesota Counties Redesign Project which wants government to be more flexible, transparent and efficient. It would coordinate the Chemical Dependency fund along with behavioral health and general health.

The model expects a decrease in overall costs for inpatient services. Chemical and mental health services would be integrated. However, at this time there are not chemical health/dual recovery services already in place regionally. The question is, if there would be enough funding available to establish the regional program. How can they take the separately run programs and bring them together smoothly and efficiently?

Other Social Service Business

• The board approved a revised county Burial policy which was effective as of July 1. The county is required by state law to provide burial for indigent persons and assume financial responsibility. The law was last changed in 1992. The first choice for a county burial is direct cremation unless cremation is contrary to beliefs or wishes of the deceased in which case the county would provide immediate burial. Assets available would be applied to county burial costs.

Originally the policy stated "the county does not pay for interment of ashes." Commissioner Marc Prestby wanted the language changed to take into account religious beliefs. The board decided to just change the language to include under other burial costs the county will cover: "Vault/grave box and urn." The policy will be reviewed biennially. Boyd noted the county has provided four burials so far in 2009.

• Boyd said there are eight to ten children in the Children's Mental Health Day treatment program. The collaborative effort is paid in part by mental health grant money and includes local schools, Zumbro Valley Mental Health, and Fillmore County.

• Fillmore Place has been converted to two Group Residential Homes with four beds each. The change allows them qualify for waiver services and state funds. The board approved a group residential contract with Maple Leaf Services for eight beds at $846 per month.

• The number of people seeking food support has continued to rise month to month especially since October of last year. This is a direct result of the weak economy. In May of last year 726 people were getting food support, that number is up to 1,038 in May 2009. About 2,240 people are getting some medical aid which is roughly 10% of the county's population.

Other Business In Brief

• Sheriff Daryl Jensen explained the state fire marshal inspected the Fillmore County Jail in April. The forty year old building is out of compliance with its current fire alarm system. The state requires an automated system with an enunciator that announces where the fire is located. The required system would be in compliance with the National Fire Protection Act's requirements. The inspection was at the request of the Department of Corrections.

Jensen provided two quotes to install an approved system. The board wants the sheriff to check if both quotes are providing the same kind of system which will satisfy the state. It will be on next week's agenda.

• Kathy Thiss will be hired as a replacement part time Registered Nurse effective July 10. Her hire was approved as recommended by the Personnel Committee at a higher than normal starting salary due to her experience.

• Mike Frauenkron, feedlot, described a request by Dan McKenna to get a refund of money paid for a land use permit. The permit was obtained last October for a state cost share project engineered through a NRCS or SWCD program. The contractor hired said that it couldn't work as designed. Commissioner Duane Bakke was in favor of returning the permit money as McKenna did the right thing coming in early to get his permit and through no fault of his own didn't get the project built. The board approved the refund as the reason for not doing the project was government engineering error.

• Prestby reported from the Solid Waste Committee that there is abuse of the rural recycling boxes. These boxes are placed as a convenience to citizens for recycling aluminum, glass, plastic and cardboard and paper. Unfortunately, some are dumping everything from vacuum cleaners to TV's. Prestby said it is "getting away from the intent of recycling." He warned if it keeps up the county may have to remove the boxes.

• Chairman Chuck Amunrud commented that people have given positive feedback on the nutrition educator who has been giving advice at food shelves.

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