Mental Health Workers Say They Are Working to Keep People out of Jail

The Messenger

It’s been about one year since statewide changes caused a shift in how the local mental health region is run.

Administrator Alison Hauser and nine employees shared some of the successes with the Webster County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, and they explained their specialized roles within the Western Quadrant of County Social Services.

CSS is the 22-county mental health region, which includes Webster County, formed in 2012 to administer mental health services by region instead of county by county.

The “pivot” came about one year ago; it aligned CSS into four quadrants after changes to Iowa Medicaid required changes in staffing at CSS.

The Western Quadrant team has reduced the amount of county dollars used for mental health and developmentally disabled services, Hauser said, by moving clients onto Medicaid-funded programs.

“We have been diligently working to integrate our more specialized roles and responsibilities with the standards set forth by Senate File 504,” Hauser said. “We started first within the Webster County Jail, by partnering with Community Health to assess and provide comprehensive mental and medical health.

“We have been active within the educational system by supporting students and families with community-based needs,” she said.

“We are continuing to work with the Emergency Department to assist with determining access to appropriate placements and services based on the individuals’ needs.”

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