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Mental health services to be maintained locally

Center Associates, Marshalltown, takes over

August 2, 2013
By John Speer - Editor (jspeer@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

If all went as planned Center Associates, Marshalltown, is now in charge of the Mental Health Clinic of Tama County in Toledo.

The board overseeing the Tama County non-profit operation voted 7-0, with one member absent, to turn over the clinic facility and its ongoing operations to the long-time Marshalltown mental health provider.

That vote was early Tuesday afternoon, July 30, and services provided were to end at the close of business on July 31.

Article Photos

The Mental Health Center of Tama County in Toledo.
News-Herald/John Speer

The clinic serves about 500 consumers annually a spokesperson said.

At that time, Michael Bergman, CEO of Center Associates, said his organization would assume responsibility for mental health services to include out-patient, evaluation and emergency care.

This was an assurance board members of the Tama County facility said they sought in their quest to continue to make sure mental health care continues to be available locally.

Fact Box

About Center Associates

From Center associates website:

Our Mission

Center Associates exists to provide high quality and comprehensive mental health services to the residents of Marshall and Hardin counties in order to enhance the lives of individuals and families.

The Center Associates is one of the longest serving mental health centers in the state. An informal meeting was held at the Lennox Auditorium on March 25, 1957. The need for community mental health services proceeded with a study group of the American Association of University Women. That study group expanded to become the Marshall County Mental Health Association, which eventually formed the Mental Health Center of Mid-Iowa.

Organizational efforts also included assistance from Opal Fore, a social worker, associated with the University of Iowa. She did extensive organization and consultation to various Iowa communities in establishing community mental health centers. After determining the appropriateness of the patient area, it was determined that Marshall County would set up a minimum staff and facilities for mental health services to Marshall County residents. If other counties wanted affiliate, they would be asked for financial assistance to provide services. Through Opal Fore's efforts, the Iowa Mental Health Authority provided furnishings for the Center and the Center opened in 1958.

In 1995, the Center was moved to 9 North 4th Avenue in the building known as the Evangelical School of Nursing Dormitory. Both the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit of Central Iowa (SATUCI) and the Center occupy the building. At the time of the move, the Center averaged 1,100 patient contacts per month and staff numbered 48 individuals. The Center is accredited by the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities within the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Consumers of the clinic had already been informed of the possible coming change, Bergman said on Tuesday.

"We're excited for people to be able to continue to access services in Tama County," Todd Rickert, coordinator of the County Central Point of Coordination told The News-Herald. Rickert's agency functions to assure residents whom are disabled have adequate access to services including those in mental health.

The three current staff members of the mental Health Clinic of Tama County were invited to apply for positions with Center Associates according to Bergman.

Bergman told the board he was unable to yet name the staff during the Tuesday meeting.

He did tell The News-Herald he expects up to five therapists and other support personnel will be make up the staff of the Tama County center.

The building at 1309 South Broadway in Toledo will be turned over to Center Associates. Center Associates will assume a Farmers Home Rural Development mortgage of $99,000 according to John Roehrick, attorney for the Tama County Mental Health.

The building was built in 1992.

Bergman said taking over the building had been a major concern of the Center Associates board.

What Happened

Ongoing financial struggles, the turnover of five clinic operations directors in about 10 years and the recent departure of psychiatrist Laura VanCleve, DO, were cited by the board as reasons for the change.

But the switch to Center Associates did not happen overnight. "We've been talking to Mike (Bergman) for about a year," Berleen Wobeter, the chair said.

Bergman said Center Associates would run the center "like a business" and some adjustments in the operations will likely occur in the future.

The Tama County non-profit board includes in addition to Wobeter of rural Toledo, Mike Gilchrist, rural Toledo, Linda Rosenberger, executive director of Tama County Public Health and Home Care, Tama, Anita Townsley, South Tama Schools elementary guidance counselor, Toledo, Larry Hassman, Traer and Tama County Board of Supervisors members Dan Anderson, rural Tama, Kendall Jordan, Toledo, and Larry Vest, Dinsdale. Hassman was reported on vacation and unable to be present for the Tuesday meeting.

Michael Bergman may be familiar to smoe long-time area residents. He attended South Tama Elementary School during the 1960s while his family lived in Toledo.

His father, Harold Bergman, worked for the Farm Bureau. His father is now retired and lives in Urbandale.

Michael Bergman is a licensed psychologist in addition to being the chief executive officer of Center Associates.

 
 

 

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