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Fillmore County goes forward on County Based Purchasing


Fri, Aug 10th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - Charity Floan, StedFast Health Plan, addressed the county board at their Tuesday, August 7 meeting, to better inform them about County Based Purchasing (CBP) and the potential obligations of the county. Olmsted County pursued the development of the StedFast Health Plan. Floan is an employee of Olmsted County. Four counties including Mower, Fillmore, Winona, and Houston are considering joining with Olmsted County in the CBP plan. Chairman Marc Prestby made it clear that all four counties will need to participate to make it feasible.

CBP was implemented in 1999 under Minnesota statues and allows a "county or group of counties to become a health plan for public assistance clients." The county would be acting as an insuring body for residents on publicly funded programs including Minnesota Care, General Assistance Medical Care, Medical Assistance, MN Senior Care and MN Senior Care Plus. The plan would be expected to help keep local tax dollars within the area.

Floan, in her presentation, suggested that the plan would allow an investment in early intervention and prevention. Public assistance clients would be encouraged to use other available treatment options rather than go directly to an Emergency Room for care where care is the most expensive.

Twenty-five counties across the state went to CBP several years ago successfully. The StedFast Plan will partner with local support services, county social workers and public health nurses.

Adding the additional four counties to the plan will net more members and spread out the costs and the risks. If the four counties move forward with implementation, they would need to buy in by sharing Olmsted County's cost in creating the plan. Potentially, half of that cost would be split between the four counties.

A commitment from the four counties is needed by September 1. If all were to commit and be approved, the four counties would begin on the program in January 2009.

Thomas Boyd, Social Service Director, said that the biggest risk for Fillmore County is if we don't do it. Sharon Serfling, Public Health, agreed with Boyd and said that in her opinion this is a 'win, win.' Serfling expects that the up front money to buy into the plan could be recouped and that a better service can be provided for citizens.

Winona has agreed to go forward. Floan has not made her presentation to Houston or Mower Counties as of this day. The Fillmore County board agreed to go forward, but wanted to negotiate on the agreement. The agreement is needed by September 1 from the board.

Highway

Highway Engineer John Grindeland asked for a little more than a 5% increase for his 2008 budget. Much of that increase is due to large increases for gas, diesel fuel, and natural gas.

Commissioner Duane Bakke said that the state legislature will probably be called into special session in the second week of September, according to e-mails he has received as a result of the 35W bridge collapse. A discussion ensued about Grindeland's interview on the local news Monday evening. Grindeland added that the collapse of the 35W bridge doesn't mean our bridges are unsafe, but that people should understand that they do need maintenance or replacement. He sees this as a cumulative problem over as many as twenty years, as politicians have continually under-funded roads and bridges. He insisted until there is a special session, until they decide to do something, we will be right where we were before. Commissioner Randy Dahl stated that we all agree there is a need, but how do we pay for fixing the problem. Dahl added that the county does not have the capacity to tax for transportation, but needs state and federal funds.

Auditor/Treasurer

Auditor/Treasurer Shirl Boelter explained that if the state has a special session that they are expected to vote on the Minnesota 21st Century (Automatic) Voter Registration Proposal. Boelter asked the commissioners to support the proposal by talking to legislators. She said that it would be a time and cost savings for the county and would still assure that only eligible voters are registered. Fewer people registering on election day should make shorter lines for everyone.

Other Business

Several department heads presented their preliminary budget proposals to the board.

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