Judge rules against Mower in SCHA flap

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 23, 2001

Mower County will have to pay its share of a local county-based health purchasing plan after a district court judge ruled the program is on track.

Friday, February 23, 2001

Mower County will have to pay its share of a local county-based health purchasing plan after a district court judge ruled the program is on track.

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Mower County stopped making payments to the South Country Health Alliance (SCHA) last summer because it said the alliance had changed from its original intent. Now, even though Mower has dropped out of the alliance, it will have to pay its share of start-up costs and follow the joint powers guidelines for removing themselves.

The decision handed down last week was a disappointment to county officials, said Mower County Commissioner Len Miller. The county will make payments as ordered, and pay the SCHA back payments owed since last July, but they do not plan on participating in the program.

&uot;We’re still going to withdraw,&uot; Miller said. &uot;We’re not going to change our mind on that.&uot;

The SCHA, a managed care system that will replace traditional medical assistance providers, is in the final stages of planning, said Darryl Meyer, Director of the Freeborn County Department of Human Services.

Participating counties include Brown, Dodge, Freeborn, Goodhue, Kanabec, Sibley, Steele, Wabasha and Waseca.

Through SCHA, counties can act as an insurance company for medical assistance or general medical assistance programming enrollees currently covered under the Prepaid Medical Assistance Program (PMAP). Some MinnesotaCare enrollees will also be eligible.

In other county news:

Child support program gets mixed marks

A recent state review rated the Freeborn County child support program above the state average, but identified three operational areas that did not meet federal requirements.

Establishment of paternity, securing and enforcing medical support orders and data entry accuracy were identified as substandard, said Meyer.

&uot;So in those three areas, we need to develop a corrective action plan within the next month,&uot; Meyer said.

The department will address the issues next month, when a state agency staff member arrives to train two newer child support staff members, he said.

Handicapped parking issues

A shortage of handicapped parking stalls at the Department of Human Services building will force some shuffling of county parking.

There are only two handicapped stalls near the building, but three employees with handicapped parking privileges, said Meyer. The third staff member has been using a street side handicapped spot intended for downtown shoppers.

&uot;It is a source of some tension with the other businesses when these spots are full and we’ve got staff that park there,&uot; Meyer said.

Meyer requested five county vehicles be moved from a small parking lot west of the building to allow the creation of additional handicapped stalls. The county vehicles could be parked in a municipal lot south of the building if the city agreed to waive the 12 hour parking limit, he said.

The county board voted unanimously to draft the written request, Commissioner Dave Mullenbach was not in attendance.

Praise for lodging facility

Department of Human Services board Chairman Dan Belshan commended a local lodging facility that provides free rooms for domestic abuse victims. The facility, whose location must remain anonymous for security reasons, provided more than $3,000 in free room services to the Crime Victim’s Crisis Center last year, Meyer said. The facility may be the only one in the state to volunteer rooms.

The Department of Human Services will draft a letter thanking them for the assistance, Meyer said.

&uot;Great, that’s community involvement,&uot; Belshan said.