The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

March 2, 2013

Keeping employees employed

New contract to provide city employees, dependents with mental health services

OTTUMWA — City staff could soon receive mental health help from the Southern Iowa Mental Health Center.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Ottumwa City Council will vote to approve an Employee Assistance Program agreement between the city and SIMHC to provide mental health assistance to city employees and their dependents.

The city’s current EAP provides counseling and guidance for various issues that could affect an employee’s job performance.

The city’s prior contract with Ottumwa Regional Health Center was withdrawn by ORHC last year.

“EAP is a little bit unique in that it’s an employee benefit where employers can purchase mental health therapy sessions for employees at a discounted rate if they’re having some kind of issue that’s interfering with their job performance,” said SIMHC executive director Christina Schark.

This is meant to be short-term therapy, she said. City employees and their family members would be able to utilize the clinic services for up to five sessions per fiscal year without charge. Any additional sessions would be the sole responsibility of the employee.

“If the city wanted to make a referral for someone they thought was needing some kind of mental health services, they can come here at a discounted rate that the employer pays for and it doesn’t go through the employee’s insurance,” Schark said. “It’s a way for an employer to look at different options before taking a disciplinary route.”

Schark said SIMHC has approximately 10 EAP contracts with organizations in the area.

“We believe that sometimes mental health issues can interfere with work performance, work safety and compliance,” she said. “If an employer is willing to take an active role in helping, they’ll have more productive employees in the long run. It’s a more active role on the employer’s end of saying, ‘I really care about you and can tell there’s something going on that is starting to affect your job performance.’”

Sometimes, employers will ask for EAP agreements if the organization’s health insurance does not offer mental health benefits.

“But we’ll see that less and less as the Affordable Care Act is rolled out,” Schark said. “Ten years ago when I worked at Ottumwa Regional, that was more common.”

The ultimate goal is to keep the employee employed.

“It’s much less costly to pay for a mental health specialist for a few sessions than to terminate, advertise, re-hire and train,” she said. “Most would rather keep the same person and meet them halfway.”

The council will also discuss:

• Approving the proposed 2013-14 city budget

• Recommendations from the Ottumwa Public Safety Advisory Board.

The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall. The meeting will air live on GO-TV, cable channel 6.

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National