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home : news : news April 28, 2016

7/10/2014 3:52:00 PM
Healthcare reform ledger sheet still being balanced

The County Board heard reports of both good and bad fallout, attributed to federal healthcare reform.  
The county is experiencing some cost reductions in some areas, but on the other hand anticipated federal aid  for case management mandates that fell on the county shoulders, has been less than what was expected.
Chisago County Health and Human Services Director Nancy Dahlin told  county commissioners last week it’s possible the annual MOE or “maintenance of effort” required of the county, as a participant in programs that provide mental health care,  could drop because its appears more patients have obtained insurance.  Dahlin said, the state Dept. of Human Services is continuing to review this budget item in context of county cases presenting more insured consumers.  
Chisago County has had a MOE  of $2 million annually, Dahlin said.
She also explained that the county has budgeted as much as $65,000 for uninsured persons needing to utilize mental health beds at the Cambridge state hospital.  
She offered, “As services shift the taxpayer should be allowed to benefit, as long as the population and program needs are met.”
County Administrator Bruce Messelt also noted that the county had planned on getting 75 cents for every dollar for MnChoices implementation costs and it’s been more like 50 cents in actual reimbursement.  
Messelt said starting in August county officials will begin a push to work on this in the legislature.

In other Board matters:
~ The multi-county marketing effort to promote the scenic route of old Highway 61, with the sale of vintage-style ‘61’ road signs is going well.  
Commissioner Mike Robinson reminded everybody the signs are $55 and available by contacting the county HRA/EDA office in North Branch 674-5664.
~ The bid for replacing a lower level entryway into the Government Center and stairs, railings, etc. went to Peterson Companies, for $188,360.
~ The county will allow use of its name as part of “conduit bonds” to finance Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s ongoing construction and improvements at various sites.  The City of Center City has also approved its conduit bonding participation.
It is not a debt of the city or county, this is a tool allowing non-profits to receive the most favorable bond interest financing.  The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner George McMahon abstaining, due to his ties to financial institutions.
~ The commissioners approved an agreement to hire Gaughan Companies to be the agent for land sales for the County Seat Business Park, in Center City.
~ A stipend was okayed for a part time intern to provide tasks for the county attorney’s office. The money comes from the department forfeiture fund.

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