The state of Iowa has been in the process of Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) redesign since 2014. The goal has been to align with the many facets of national health care reform while addressing the needs of Iowans with mental illness and/or disabilities with a more comprehensive array of service options.
A part of the redesign process to enhance the structure of service delivery included the voluntary determination by Iowa counties, who were contiguous to each other, from 15 MHDS Regions through 28 E agreements. These regions determined their own local Governance Boards with representation from each member county, Advisory Boards with representation from service providers, members, family members, a Fiscal Agent, and contracted administrative staff including a CEO and disability services coordinator.
Our region, Northwest Iowa Care Connection is made up of 5 counties: Clay, Dickinson, O'Brien, Osceola, and Palo Alto. Lyon County was part of the region, but recently opted out to join another region. The executive director for NICC is Kim Wilson, and her office is located in Spencer. I serve on the Advisory Board, NICC has been supportive in providing education and training for service providers, providing funding for members who do not qualify for a waiver, and expanding services for mental health services. These services include: access to a 24-hour crisis line, mobile crisis teams, crisis screening and assessments to develop a plan for assistance, crisis residential services, community-based crisis stabilization, and sub-acute services. Justice related services that support mental health screenings and treatment for those who are incarcerated in county jails and provide re-entry coordination for those released from correctional services are also included. Preventative services, including but not limited to law enforcement Crisis Intervention Training, Mental Health First Aid for First Responders and community members, and training to de-escalate persons in a crisis situation. Moving to mental health region format has been very positive, and has made services provided through-out the state more uniform, and has expanded mental health services. If you have any questions about our mental health region, please contact me.