Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 29, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4 The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Thors., Aug. 29, 1974
Clarinda Alternative Heard
By Harrison Weber
DES MOINES (!I)F’A) - A legislative interim committee has under study an innovative approach for delivery of mental health services in southwest Iowa.
The proposal stems from an announcement last December by the state department of social services that the Clarinda mental health institute was being phased out and could not accept any new patients after Feb. 28.
This order was set aside after Attorney General Richard C. Turner held that only the legislature could close a state institution.
The legislative committee on mental health decided to hold off on taking a position on closing the institution until it had an opportunity to delve into this sticky issue in some detail.
Rep. Horace Daggett (R-Kent) and Sen. James Briles (R-Corning) presented the committee Wednesday with a specific proposal on mental health care in southwest Iowa as an alternative to closing the Clarinda institution.
A Step Further
It calls upon the state to continue to provide in-patient treatment for southwest Iowa. But, then it goes a step further by setting up a mechanism for providing additional services to the counties on a pooled basis.
Daggett and Briles offered the committee a proposed bill as a vehicle for discussion. The bill represents the work of many interested citizens from southwest Iowa.
It redesignates the Clarinda mental health institute as the Southwest Iowa Mental Health Resource Center. The state
Harrison Weber M
department of social services would continue to be in charge of administration of the institute for in-patient care.
But a special advisory council would be created to assist the superintendent of the resource center in planning and carrying out these additional services, which would be paid for by the counties served. These related services are the kinds of services available in many counties.
Kevin Burns, commissioner of social services, said he supports the proposal and considers it an “acceptable and viable alternative ...”
Rep. Edgar Holden (R-Davenport), committee chairman, said the “heart of the problem” is funding
Many of the 89 counties have community health centers. But. for various reasons, 12 of the 25 counties served by Clarinda have not made a move in this direction. Rep. Daggett said sparse population and a low valuation base were factors in holding some counties back.
One of the related services that would be provided, under the proposed bill, would be traveling clinics. Each county, presumably through property tax, would pay for the actual costs of these programs to their residents.
A problem, as Holden and other committee members saw it, was what cost should be included in determining a fair fee. Capital costs, in particular. were of concern to the committee.
A question was also raised about counties possibly “warehousing” their residents at Clarinda. In other words, closing a county home and sending the people to Clarinda for custodial care.
Alfred Sump, a member of the Page county board of supervisors, told the committee he didn t think this would happen. Among other reasons, he said it would cost more.
Clarinda has only 266 patients receiving in-patient treatment, but has a high number of out-patients. Rep. Elmer Denllerder (R-Sioux Center) said of the four mental health institutes, including Independence, Cherokee and Mt. Pleasant, Clarinda had the second highest number of out-patients on an annual basis.
But Denllerder, and other committee members, raised a question as to what would happen to the plan if Polk county, one of those being served by Clarinda, set up its own mental health program —such a move is in the planning stage. Forty percent of the patients at Clarinda are from Polk county.
Rep. Joan Lipsky (R-Cedar Rapids) sees a need for more precise information on costs. She wanted the group of southwest Iowa residents to have the various boards of supervisors and other interested groups take a closer exam
ination of the costs involved, not only today, but to make a projection for the future.
There are many possible ramifications to the proposal. But the' committee expressed its appreciation to Ed Lisle, Clarinda business man, and others involved in the project for presenting an interesting alternative.
Commissioner Burns, in response to a question, said it’s possible that much of what is recommended in the plan could bo done administrative ly. But. by the same token, he said the department would prefer to have the legislature give the social services department some direction as to what approach it should take.
The committee decided to take the proposal under consideration and at a later date vote on whether to recommend such as approach to the legislature for delivery of mental health care in southwest Iowa.
Kennedy to Speak at Democratic Fundraiser
DES MOINES (AP)- Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) will be the featured speaker at the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner Oct. 5, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic party confirmed Wednesday.
The $3B-a-ticket or $50-per* couple event is to be held in the Hilton Coliseum in Ames.
Kennedy, 42, youngest brother of former President John F. Kennedy, was first elected to the senate in 1962 to fill JFK’s unexpired term, and was re-elected in 1964 and 1970
Several national polls show him to be the front-running Democratic choice as the party’s nominee for the presidency in 1976.
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