Long standing program for people with mental illness ending - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Long standing program for people with mental illness ending

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LINN COUNTY (KWWL) -

A long standing program for people with mental illness in Linn County. is ending. 

The Linn County Board of Supervisors voted to dissolve Supported Community Living program Tuesday morning.

The people is the program will still receive services, but the department staff will be laid off and many of them have worked there for decades.

Rusty Goins has worked for Linn County for 27 years. She's now the Supported Community Living Coordinator.

"I will be laid off," said Goins. "I'm worried for my staff. I mean, I've got staff that have worked here 30 years.

There's 16 full-time and six part-time workers in the Supported Community Living program.

They like their job.," said Goins. "They stay here because they like their job and they like what they're doing.

The program began in the 1970s as a way to help people with mental illness, providing services like daily reminders to take medicine or just a weekly check in to see how they're doing.

Clients won't lose services. They'll be transferred to private and non-profit providers.

"A lot of our clients don't adjust to change very well," said Goins "Some of our staff have worked with the same clients for 10, 15, 20 years so that type of change is very difficult for the client."

For years Linn County has gotten a waiver to charge more for services. But Iowa Medicaid Enterprise, who manages these Medicaid dollars, is changing management to Magellan Health Services July 1, 2013. Linn County officials don't expect to get the same reimbursement rate.

"We don't expect that we will get the full rate and so the county would be losing money on every hour's service we deliver," said Mechelle Dhondt, Director of Mental Health and Developmental Disability Services.

Department workers are eligible for bumping privileges to open positions in the county if they qualify.

Right now there's more than 100 clients in the program who will be transferred to other providers.

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