Capstone to Expand into Poweshiek County
A collaboration among four Iowa organizations promises to improve access to mental health services in Poweshiek County.
Beginning later this year, Capstone Behavioral Healthcare—a Newton-based service—will begin offering mental health services in the former Poweshiek County Mental Health Center offices on Fourth Avenue in Grinnell.
The four partners working to make this arrangement possible are Capstone Behavioral Healthcare, Central Iowa Community Services, Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors, and Grinnell Regional Medical Center. Each organization brings critical resources to the table to ensure that mental health services remain in the area.
“We believe this partnership will provide excellent services to patients, preserve local employment, and enhance financial sustainability for all the organizations involved,” says Todd Reding, president of GRMC’s board of directors.
GRMC began providing mental health services in 2013 when the 40-year-old Poweshiek County Mental Health Center closed due to financial difficulties. Over the past three years, the same issues that plagued PCMHC—a shortage of providers and poor reimbursement from insurers—stressed GRMC as well, making it difficult to sustain the service.
A transition to Capstone will improve access for patients.
Capstone’s mission is to promote mental health, and reduce the impairments associated with mental disorders, substance abuse, and chemical dependency by providing education, support, and treatment services. Capstone’s board of directors voted unanimously to approve the proposal by GRMC and Poweshiek County to operate the mental health clinic. The goal is to complete the transition by fall of 2016.
Central to this transition are the expansion of provider availability and cost savings. Capstone is considered a “community mental health center” by Medicaid and Medicare regulations—a designation that GRMC is not eligible for due to a state moratorium on making this designation. The designation allows Capstone to receive a higher rate of reimbursement from insurers—approximately 30 percent more—than GRMC could for the exact same service. In addition, Capstone is able to receive additional types of funding that helps it recruit providers.
“We appreciate all that GRMC has done to keep mental health services local over the past three years,” says Jody Eaton, chief executive officer of Central Iowa Community Services. The agency is charged with coordinating mental health services for the State of Iowa in 10 Iowa counties, including Jasper and Poweshiek counties.
“We understand the inconsistent financial reimbursement at GRMC has made for many challenges. This partnership with the county and Capstone will achieve mutual goals to keep mental health services local and expand care options,” Eaton adds.
CICS will consider assisting in start-up costs to bring Capstone to Grinnell. The county supervisors have agreed to provide affordable rental fees to Capstone to entice them to Grinnell.
“We are pleased to provide an affordable clinic space for this much needed service. We are committed to this collaboration and to making the available resources go as far as possible,” says Larry Wilson, Poweshiek County supervisor.
“Our primary concern has been, and will continue to be, providing quality healthcare for area residents,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “We continue to read daily about the serious shortage of mental health providers and funding for services. Iowa ranks 47th out of 50 states for psychiatrists per capita and 46th in per capita for number of psychologists. We will face this challenge until state and federal funding and policy changes occur.”
“Our goal has always been to ensure that individuals with mental health needs receive treatment. We’re excited to be partnering with Capstone and to include many of their providers on our medical staff,” Linden says.
“We want to be here and provide the service,” says Julie Smith, director of Capstone. “Our focus is to keep people in the community for services. It is imperative that everyone work together in this transition.”
“The purpose of this collaboration is to ensure that individuals with mental health issues do not go untreated. Providing high-quality and sustainable mental health services to serve the residents of our community is our first priority,” Smith adds.
Once the relocation takes place, Capstone’s office hours in Grinnell will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. Capstone intends to bring additional mental health professionals to practice in Grinnell. Services will include psychiatric medication management, individual counseling, and group therapy. Capstone will also continue to operate the Station Clubhouse, which specializes in group therapy and activities for clients, as well as their integrated health home.
GRMC will continue to operate its mental health program until the transition to Capstone is complete in the fall of this year. Patients can begin inquiring about fall appointments with Capstone by calling 641-236-2347.