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Mental health clinic contract announced in county board meeting

The Hawk Eye - 4/18/2018

April 18--A new walk-in mental health clinic should open in Burlington this July.

County officials discussed the clinic in Tuesday's Des Moines County Board of Supervisors meeting. Ken Hyndman, the county's community services director, told supervisors that Optimae Life Services won a contract with the regional group Southeast Iowa Link, which oversees Des Moines County, to run a new walk-in clinic.

"We hope that it's warm, welcoming and available for people who need it," Hyndman said in an interview after the meeting.

Optimae currently runs a similar clinic in Fairfield, which it calls a recovery clinic. Joni Elder, the Fairfield clinic's coordinator, said they're going to attempt to replicate what they've done with that clinic.

She said they're not yet sure how much use to expect at the Burlington location. "I've heard that people in that area are really reluctant to reach out because of the stigma involved," she said.

Hyndman echoed the same worry. Both assume they'll have at least some regular location use at the facility, which is in the back of the community services office at 910 Cottonwood Court. It's next door to a short-term residential crisis home, and the clinic will provide resources for residents at that home.

SEIL is paying Optimae $146,000 to run the facility. They plan to have at least one full-time position and one part-time position to start. It'll be open 40 hours per week, and the specific hours are to be set based off input from its users. The contract specifies that hours should include some nights and weekends.

Optimae will not charge anyone who comes to the facility seeking help. It's supposed to be open to anyone, no paperwork required. They plan to serve one free meal a day.

The clinic will offer training programs for people struggling with mental illness and substance abuse. The clinic is to rely on programs that with proven, evidenced track records.

"It'll be a big help, but it's not the end-all be-all in our area," Hyndman said.

He hopes the clinic can provide a safety net to fall back on for locals whose Medicaid services decline or are dropped.

Other business

The board approved a $987,000 contract with Fye Excavating to grade a section of Iowa City Road. The project came in below the estimated $1.4 million.

Supervisors delayed a vote to approve a contract for road work along Beaverdale Road, Mediapolis Road, 205th Avenue and 260th Avenue.


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