Officials still looking for more redesign answersA county workshop April 10 left Health and Human Services Board members feeling uneasy about joining 11 other counties to provide human services as a region. Members’ most recent meeting evoked the very same feelings.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
A county workshop April 10 left Health and Human Services Board members feeling uneasy about joining 11 other counties to provide human services as a region. Members’ most recent meeting evoked the very same feelings.
Only one funding possibility was presented at the April 10 workshop. It had Goodhue County saving about $715,000 in the first five years of regional delivery but dishing out more than $6 million over the next 10, which is much higher than it would cost the county to operate individually.
“So far I haven’t seen any benefit for Goodhue County,” HHS Board member Gary Iocco said at the workshop.
Since then, a regional redesign meeting has been held in Rochester to offer up additional possible funding ideas. HHS Deputy Director Mike Zorn shared those scenarios with the board at its meeting this Tuesday, but officials still weren’t sold.
One of the options took a look at 2010 historical spending and projected Goodhue County having a cost avoidance of $1.9 million in the early years.
“The problem is never the first five years, it’s the 10 years after that,” Commissioner Dan Rechtzigel said.
Accenture, the company developing the delivery model, is working to create the 15-year projections for the new options.
Aside from financial aspects, county officials are also concerned about not having a say in future decisions. The governance model suggested for handling the redesign features a board comprising commissioners from seven counties. Three of the larger counties would have permanent seats on the board while the four remaining seats would be filled with a rotation, giving Goodhue County an occasional — but not permanent — position.
Some HHS Board members are skeptical as to whether the regional redesign will ever be a practical concept for all 12 counties involved.
“It’s taken a lot of staff time and I haven’t seen any positives yet for Goodhue County,” Iocco said Tuesday. “I was prepared to make a motion to say that we withdraw from it.”
“I’m not very happy with Accenture,” Commissioner Ted Seifert said. “They said they do this worldwide. No wonder the world is in chaos.”
The board ultimately decided not to bow out just yet and instead to see what kind of answers come out of a regional meeting set for May 7 in Rochester.
“We need to work this problem,” Seifert added. “There’s a lot of discussion that needs to go on on this.”