County opts out of regional human services deliveryBoth the Goodhue County Health and Human Services Board and the Goodhue County Board unanimously agreed Tuesday at their respective meetings it’s best for the county not to join a 12-county collaboration that would provide human services regionally.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Both the Goodhue County Health and Human Services Board and the Goodhue County Board unanimously agreed Tuesday at their respective meetings it’s best for the county not to join a 12-county collaboration that would provide human services regionally.
For the past several months, the county has been considering whether or not it could save money by sharing responsibilities with 11 other counties — Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona.
The concept initially looked appealing to commissioners back in March when it appeared that Goodhue County would achieve some savings from the regional redesign. As more details surfaced, however, it was determined that the county’s financial obligations would actually increase in the redesign, to the tune of about $6 million. A majority of the 11 other counties were expected to have expensive outcomes as well.
“The whole effort, although it was educational, it turned out kind of like trying to put a square peg in a round hole,” Commissioner Ted Seifert said.
While Dodge and Steele counties have already voted to take part in the redesign, Winona and Fillmore counties are opting out alongside Goodhue. Olmsted County, which stands to save the most money, will vote on July 10.
Goodhue County Health and Human Services Director Nina Arneson said she had several concerns about entering into the redesign, one being the separation of human services and public health.
“We have just seen so much value in being Health and Human Services, an integrated department,” she said.
Shortly after the HHS Board made its decision to opt out of the collaboration, the County Board voted to as well.
Commissioners decided the redesign in question isn’t right for the county, but said they wouldn’t be opposed to a different collaborative effort in the future.