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Mediation up Next for Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disabilities Region

Monday, January, 13, 2020

Mediation was determined to be the next step in a recent meeting of the Muscatine County Supervisors in an effort to settle the ongoing issue of Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disabilities Region being removed from the group.


At the moment, Muscatine County intends to leave by the end of this June.  Four other counties in the group want them removed immediately, but a December 20th meeting resulted in the decision to table the vote and see if mediation can help.


According to board member Nathan Mather, “… the (agreement) specifies that disputes shall be brought before mediation.  We presented a request to mediate and there was a very clear agreement with everyone that we had some disputes. ”


Mather wants a third-party to help the parties reach an agreement and has he spoken to an attorney in an effort to make that happen.  


The region has asked for the first two payments due by Muscatine County, but Mather claims the county has already paid nearly $900,000 more into the program than its residents have received services.  According to a conversation Mather had with a representative of the Iowa Department of Human Services, the county was ejected from the region; it would not have access to money levied by the region for mental health services. ” But Mather and the attorney representing Muscatine County disagree.


Mather explained, “Services will not be shut off in Muscatine County.  If we have to do something — it is easier to get forgiveness than permission and if DHS (Iowa Department of Human Services) wants to come in and sue us and say we have to kick someone out of an institution or stop giving people their medicine, I do not think that is what they want to do.”


Now, the parties will head to mediation to sort out their differences.