If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
To the editor:
I am writing this to let you know about a possible state-mandate change involving Ringgold County Supportive Services (RCSS).
Our program was locally developed over 20 years ago because this level and quality of services were not available to our special needs residents or many special needs persons in nearby communities, dedicated members of our community came together to create RCSS.
RCSS has been a locally grown and highly successful program that has brought joy and happiness to its clients and their families for many years. RCSS is a Ringgold County entity, which allows county benefits for its staff. This supports longevity of staff, which provides consistency and routine to the clients.
We are very passionate about serving the group of individuals who attend RCSS. We want the program and those served to remain in the communities of their choice.
RCSS began as a county entity supervised by the RCSS Board and the Ringgold County Board of Supervisors. We are now at risk of being mandated to change to management by the CROSS Mental Health Region. The CROSS Region is made up of seven counties, Ringgold being one of those. The CROSS Board is not local, is not familiar with the particulars of our program, and is not familiar with our personnel or the individual needs of our clients. Below are some other reasons why this change could potentially be harmful to RCSS:
1. This would complicate the budgetary process. An additional layer of budget approval by the CROSS Board would be necessary. This function is already being done appropriately on a local level by both the RCSS governing board as well as the Ringgold County Board of Supervisors. Those boards review our budget when incorporating it into the County’s overall budget, as well as review and approve the claims for all disbursements made from our funds.
2. No individuals were funded for the RCSS program through either County or Region funds during the previous fiscal year, and none will be funded through either County or Region funds in the current fiscal year. All billing/payments are completed through ID Waiver. Our program is financially self-sustainable and imposes no financial burden on either the County or the Region. Documents to prove this have been shared with DHS.
3. By assuming financial control over RCSS, the regional CROSS Board would have the authority to discontinue the program. The RCSS governing Board would have its authority appreciably curtailed. The Ringgold County Board of Supervisors would have only one vote on the CROSS Board.
4. The change would require additional payroll/bill-paying duties for the Region CEO.
Currently these services are being provided and managed by our local auditor. It could increase the cost of maintaining the program if fees were added for these payroll/bill-paying services. The additional time required to perform these services would be considered in a decision on continuation of the RCSS program.
5. The program is cost-balanced through waiver funding. It is a known fact that another cost-balanced program in the state has been allowed a waiver. For the same reasons that program was eligible for a waiver, RCSS should similarly be entitled to a waiver from the requirement to be brought within the mental health region. In addition, other mental health focused services such as First Five and Early Access are not managed by the CROSS Board.
6. The proposed change provides no discernable benefit to the RCSS program. There would be no additional funding for personnel, facility or equipment upgrades, or activities for our clients. We simply lose local control over a needed program that CROSS has not created, developed, or funded. Instead persons with minimal knowledge and understanding of our program would be making the most important decisions about its future.
We have set up a visit on September 14 at 10 a.m. at RCSS with our local legislators, Senator Mark Costello and Representative Cecil Dolecheck. It is our hope to gain some support from them to keep our program on a local level. If you would like to contact either of them to share your support for our local program, their contact information is below:
Senator Mark Costello
37265 Rains Ave.
Imogene, IA 51645
Representative Cecil Dolecheck
703 N Fillmore St.
Mount Ayr, IA 50854