Cass County Board: HHVS handling unfunded mandates from state, feds

WALKER--Despite federal funding shifts to states and state shifts to counties, Cass County Health, Human and Veterans Services current budget can handle the changes so far.

WALKER-Despite federal funding shifts to states and state shifts to counties, Cass County Health, Human and Veterans Services current budget can handle the changes so far.

Heidi Tumberg, HHVS fiscal supervisor, gave this view to Cass County Board Tuesday. She said future years could bring more impact from these funding shifts.

Through May 31, the county's HHVS cash balance exceeded the first five months of 2016 by $211,000. The budget overall is running about 3 percent lower than 2017 budget expectations, Tumberg said.

One factor which has helped this year's budget is the fact the number of children and costs for their out of home placement has been down significantly from 2016. The first five months of 2016 averaged 92 children a month in placements. This year the average number of children ran 76.4 a month. Cost for group homes, foster homes, correctional facilities and emergency shelters ran $2,584,870 through May 2017.

Tumberg obtained board approval to write off debts owed to the county when there have been no payments in three months if the amount owed is less than $35 rather than $25. She said returned payment fees now generally run more than $25, so attempt to collect can cost more than the amount owed.


The county is one point higher than a year ago, however.

Health Supervisor Renee Lukkason reported Cass ranks 84 of 87 counties for health factors and 85 of 87 for healthy outcomes this year or near the bottom. This is according to an annual survey conducted by University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Health outcomes are determined by length of life and quality of life.

The survey evaluates the number of people who die before age 75. It considers babies born less than 5.8 pounds to be underweight at birth.

The variety of measures taken include high school and college graduation rates, access to healthy foods, smoking rates, obesity, teen births, availability of all types of health care (physical and mental), chronic illnesses, unemployment rates, single parent households, violent crime rate, housing problems, air pollution, long commutes to work, diet and exercise, uninsured, income level and alcohol and drug use.

HHVS Interim Director Michelle Piprude reported Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force will offer "Walking Shield" from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 11 through July 20. The program is no-cost health care service open to the public at Cass Lake-Bena High School, 15308 State 371 NW, Cass Lake.

It includes general medical care, physical exams, school and sport physicals, dental exams and fillings and antibiotics and analgesics. HHVS will have a booth at the event, Piprude said.

Cass County supports three family centers, dividing $85,000 each year among them. They are located at Pillager, Pine River and Remer. All three tailor services to their local communities and serve people from newborns to seniors.


In addition to the county, they are supported by local donations and fundraisers.

Central Minnesota Council on Aging serves 14 central counties including Cass and Crow Wing. State and Federal funding covers a large portion of its operating costs.

In 2016, the Council on Aging took in $3,068,479 and spent $3,061,268. It provides information about senior services and provides some services directly to older residents in member counties.

Cass will contribute $3,040 to the Council on Aging in 2017 for in home services to help keep older people in their own homes.

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