Abbe reduces county space, maintains services

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     As the Abbe Mental Health Center decreases its space needs in Jones County, their services continue to rise.

     Kathy Johnson, executive director of Abbe, spoke with the Jones County Board of Supervisors during their March 13 meeting, providing an update.

     Abbe occupies four offices within the county’s Broadway Place Annex facility. Johnson is requesting to eliminate two of those offices, decreasing the lease from four to two offices.

     “We’ve shifted some offices to another location,” said Johnson.

     However, she said she did not want to give the impression that Abbe was decreasing or eliminating services in Jones County.

     “In fact, we’ve expanded services,” said Johnson.

     Abbe provides mental health services in a nine-county region based on community needs.

     In Jones County, aside from having office space, Abbe also moved some of its outpatient services to Jones Regional Medical Center.

     “And we saw an increase in appointments and rates because of that move,” said Johnson. “It’s been a good partnership.”

     Abbe provides services for over 12,000 clients each year in its region. Eighty percent of those clients are covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

     Those services include: Psychiatric evaluations, medication management, counseling, school-based mental health services, supported housing, intensive psychiatric rehab services, home-based mental health nursing, peer support, wellness recovery services, homeless outreach, among many others.

     In Jones County they employ two prescribers, two outpatient therapists, and one integrated health home director. Johnson said they’ve actually increased their staff at JRMC.

     “The demand of medication prescribers is growing,” she said.

     Johnson said one of the challenges right now is getting individual care providers to integrate mental health as part of a patient’s primary care.

     “It helps the primary care physician recognize when people need more care and to prevent long-term illnesses,” she said.

     Abbe has been renting space from the county since 2010.

     With this request, the board will look at adjusting its lease with Abbe.

In other county business:

     • The board approved a request from Jones County Economic Development to become an employer of record for the hiring of a new economic development director. The new hire would be eligible for IPERS and the same benefits as a full-time county employee.

     County Auditor Janine Sulzner said the county would charge JCED a 3 percent administration fee.

     • The board approved filing a tax lien for delinquent sewer bills for the Fairview sanitary sewer system on County Road E-34.

     • Lucia Herman, Community Services director, informed the board that the two candidates who applied for the mental health advocate position have declined due to the limited number of hours required and the compensation. The previous advocate worked between three and four hours a month.

     “It’s such a special position, especially with the education required,” said Herman.

     She said there is $3,000 budgeted for the position.

     The board directed Herman to check with neighboring counties to see if their advocates would want to pick up the extra hours for Jones County. If not, the job will be advertised again.

     • The board tabled approval to award a bid for a motor grader for Secondary Roads, pending the county engineer’s review.

     Two bids were received: $305,500 with a $55,000 trade-in from Martin Equipment and $308,141 with a $56,000 trade-in from Altorfer.

     • The board approved a $275,000 settlement with ITC Midwest for damage to County Road D-65 during a utility project.


Subscriber Login