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Supervisors hear presentations from Hope Haven, Seasons

April 11, 2014
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday heard about services from two mental health providers - Hope Haven Mental Health Services and Seasons Center for Community Mental Health.

The county has used both providers in the past, and representatives from both agencies told supervisors Tuesday the extent of their services.

Doug Smit, Hope Haven director of mental health services, and April Metzger, manager, talked about Hope Haven's mental health services and workshop. Smith said the agency is providing administrative help to Echo Plus on an interim plus.

In January, Hope Haven began offering services at Estherville Lutheran Church Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as in Emmetsburg, Spencer, Milford and Spirit Lake. She said they've also started jail services in Dickinson County.

Metzger also said the agency does in-home services with parents and children as a Title XIX program.

Kim Scorza, Seasons executive director, said the agency is committed to keeping its inpatient unit at Spencer Hospital despite the fact that maintaining the unit costs Seasons $300,000 a year - $100,000 in direct operating losses and $200,000 with staff being tied down in the inpatient unit and unable to perform billable outpatient services. Scorza said it manages those costs through its catchment fee and emergency services.

"It's critical, it's absolutely critical, that the inpatient remain open," Scorza said.

Scorza said she was not opposed to operating with multiple mental health regions, but as a provider she didn't know how to determine how much to charge for regions outside Seasons' immediate area. Emmet County used to belong to the region served by Seasons but has since moved to County Social Services. The county will continue to use Season's services.

Scorza noted a personnel shortage in the Seasons psychological testing unit which she says determines a patient's diagnosis which in turn drives the patient's treatment plan. She said if the right treatment plan is provided it saves money in the long run.

Scorza said Seasons purchased a building in Spencer in 2012 for its Regional Children's Center, for children from birth to 21 to accommodate children leaving foster care who may not be operating on the adult level.

When supervisor Tim Schumacher asked what would help the $300,000 deficit, Scorza said there needs to be a step down from inpatient treatment.

Scorza said reimbursement is also a problem. She said a three-prong approach of how committals are done, stabilization and reimbursement would be a good way to address the problem.



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