Assurances last June the operation of the Tama County Career Development Center in downtown Tama would stay under Iowa Valley Continuing Education oversight were short-lived.
In an announcement Tuesday, Jacque Goodman, Vice Chancellor of Iowa Valley Continuing Education, said, "As of June 30 the community college district will no longer be involved with the CDC programming. Iowa Valley is working with multiple other service providers, who anticipate being able to offer the same kinds of services and transition the consumers to their organizations prior to June 30."
The word in June, 2012, that Iowa Valley was committed to continuing CDC?operations in Tama and Marshalltown came on the heels of the closing of the Career Development Center in Poweshiek County which Iowa Valley said was "due to economic factors."
Tama County Career Development Center in downtown Tama.
News-Herald file/John Speer
The announcement Tuesday said Iowa Valley would also end contract operations with the Marshall County CDC.
On Tuesday, the Tama County CDC was serving 12 full time and five part-time consumers. There continues to be three staff members. The center operates from a building at 231 West 3rd St. which is owned by the Tama County Arc (formerly the Association for Retarded Children.)
Vocational services programs for adults with disabilities are provided at the centers.
"We are going to make every efforttot insure services continue to be provided in Tama County. (It is hoped) this will affect the people being served as little as possible," Todd Rickert, administrator of the Tama County Central Point of Coordination, told The News-Herald Tuesday.
"There are sound fiscal and programmatic reasons for what we're doing, but our absolute top priority in our planning has been to ensure that our consumers and their families are able to make a smooth and successful transition to other quality services as they become available during the next few months," Goodman said in a press release. "We are making the assurance that our consumers will continue to have access to quality pre-vocational and adult day services that meet their needs and the needs of their families."
Rickert confirmed officials already are working on an agreement with Genesis Development to take over the CDC operations here. Genesis has been in charge of the Pheasant Ridge Care Center at rural Toledo - the former Tama County Home - since 2010. It is a non-profit group based in Jefferson which provides services in 11 locations across the state.
John Willett, Tama, a longtime member of the Arc of Tama County which owns the CDC?building in downtown Tama, says he has emphasized to officials the Arc organization will continue to provide the location at the nominal $1 per pear fee. He said the building has also undergone "thousands and thousands of dollars" in improvements which have been provided at no cost to the career development program.
"As a taxpayer and citizen, I made it clear the location would continue to be available and there isn't a better deal," Willett said.
Rickert said CDC staff are in the midst of setting up a meeting with consumers and their families to chart the future course. Tama County has provided for adults in the CDC program since at least the 1950s when a center began operations in Tama at Siegel and 14th streets.
In the news release from Iowa Valley, Goodman said the reasons Iowa Valley is transitioning the CDC programs to other service providers are two-fold: 1) over the years, funding across the state has been cut, impacting program and service delivery in several areas, education being one of them, and 2) programs that are Medicaid-funded will have more resources available to them, benefitting consumers, families and staff and leading to longer-term sustainability of the programming. The community college district is not prepared to become a Medicaid program provider.
"It's not news to anyone that funding for state programs and services has not kept pace with the need and demand, nor with the cost of providing those programs and services," says Goodman. "That is as true for education, and Iowa's community colleges, as it is for many other sectors."
"The Medicaid waiver program is the real kicker for us," Goodman continues. "In the past, our CDC programs have been funded with a combination of county and state funds. Beginning last July, the state took over the federal Medicaid Match program and set a goal that all county programs that qualified for Medicaid funding would be funded by Medicaid. The CDC programs do qualify for Medicaid funding, but we've not sought it because Iowa Valley is not a Medicaid provider that's really a medical health/mental health/social services program. The community college is not prepared to take all the complicated steps that would be required to handle Medicaid. It just makes far more sense, from a financial and programming standpoint, to transition these programs from Iowa Valley to providers who are already Medicaid certified and able to offer that programming."
The news release continued,, Christopher Duree, IVCCD Chancellor, echoed Goodman's position on the waiver issue. "Iowa Valley feels not only a strong educational tie to the CDC consumers and families, but also an emotional one. We will ensure that this transition of programming from the community college to other service providers goes smoothly, and we know that the county CDC coordinators and caseworkers will work hand-in-hand with the families to ensure that no one will have unanswered questions, no one will flounder, and no one will be without the support and services they need."
In February, 20112, contract negotiations for the center were taken over by an eight-member County Social Services group. Previously the Tama County Board of Supervisors and Central Point of Coordination Office had handled the contract negotiations.
Under the current Tama County contract, a per diem charge of $53.70 per day for each consumer when they are at the CDC is paid according to information provided in June. Iowa Valley has held the contract for the Tama County CDC since the 1980s.