MUSCATINE, Iowa -- Muscatine County is pulling out of the financially-strapped Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region (EIMHDS).
A few years ago, the Iowa Legislature mandated that counties pool their resources, grouping into "regions," to cover growing mental health costs.
The Muscatine County Board of Supervisors unanimous decision will reduce the EIMHDS region to just four counties, Scott, Clinton, Jackson, and Cedar Counties. The board also applied to join the Southeast Iowa Link (SEIL) region, encompassing Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Washington and Van Buren Counties.
Board Chairman Nathan Mather said Muscatine County sent over $3 million dollars to the Eastern region in the last five years that it won't see back.
"We were happy to do that as long as the region was providing the kinds of services, but now the cuts that we see, that have just become necessary, it was do this or lose jobs, services and stability in Muscatine County," Mather said.
Mather said the Muscatine County Center for Social Action is an innovative facility that could be at risk if the county doesn't achieve a more solid financial footing.
"It’s important for us that one of our major supporters, the county, is also fiscally responsible so we can continue to take care of our county’s most vulnerable in new, creative and innovative ways," said Scott Dahlke, executive director at Muscatine County Mental Health.