The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 16, 2013

River Hills to reduce cost for county-referred patients

(Continued)

That's because Wapello County has "a decent fund balance leftover" from fiscal year 2013.

"Apparently O'Brien County does not, and they had a bunch of people added: less money and more clients," he said.

While the mental health redesign won't have a direct impact on River Hills, Johnson said the Affordable Care Act will "hopefully" drive more patients to the health center.

The IowaCare program "bites the dust" on Dec. 31, he said, and then Branstad's Iowa Health and Wellness Plan goes into effect, which Johnson hopes will allow more county residents to come to Ottumwa for medical care.

There are approximately 4,200 IowaCare patients in the eight-county region who have to go to Iowa City or Des Moines for medical care.

"We lost a lot of patients over the last three to five years with the IowaCare program," Johnson said. "I'm hopeful they'll return to this area now that IowaCare is done. I'm hopeful we'll have a lot of those patients return to us as patients under the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan."

The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the boardroom on the third floor of the courthouse.

County to secure tech director to eliminate waste

The county will also consider hiring Paul Culver for a newly created position: information technology director.

This spring, several county information technology specialists from across Iowa came to Ottumwa to tour county offices and examine the computers, buildings, Internet service and phone usage.

"They found an uncoordinated mess," said supervisor Steve Siegel.

Each department was making its own decisions in regards to the Internet and computers. The study resulting from the tour showed that the county could save between $100,000 and $300,000 per year if all technology was corralled under one department.

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