Hope Haven CEO Comments On Factor Behind Decision To Discontinue Mental Health Therapy Services

Fri 5-3-2019

(Spirit Lake)-- We're learning more details into the announcement by Hope Haven it will no longer be providing mental health therapy services in its nine county service region, including Dickinson county, effective June 27th. It also includes services provided to jails in the region. KUOO news spoke this (Fri.) morning with Hope Haven CEO Matt Buley...Buley01 

"Anytime something like this happens you mourn. We mourn the fact that people are losing their jobs, and that's 11 people in total. Eight of them that provided some kind of therapy directly. And you mourn the fact that people who are seeking mental health services are looking for and need help. And so to have them, you know, the real positive thing is that there are good providers in the area still, so people are going to be able to get back up and continue to receive services and we're hoping that some of our therapists will end up at those organizations as well, and we've been working on that. We hope that it's minimally disruptive but you don't like to see people lose their jobs and you don't like to see people have to move on from a mental health standpoint either."

Buley says the announcement will have no impact on the other services Hope Haven provides, including its residential housing program...Buley02 

"We have 63 homes across our service area now, so people have a home because of Hope Haven; certainly none of that will go away. We've done a lot of great work with job placement, job coaching. That will all continue. And some of our mental health things will also continue. We're going to continue to do intensive psych rehab; we're going to continue to do peer support. We've got a $44 million a year budget. We have over 800 employees. All of those things are, so many of things are going to continue and go on strongly."

Buley adds there will be little or no impact on Hope Havens facilities and offices, including the one in Spirit Lake which the agency recently purchased and is in the process of remodeling. He says the project is being funded through other sources and fundraising.

Buley says the decision to discontinue mental health therapy services was based purely on finances. He says Hope Haven has lost a significant amount of money in that arena over the past eight years and that they are no longer able to support that through other services...Buley03 

"As an organization we're comfortable working under tight budgets. We know that this comes out of taxpayers pockets, the work that we do. But in our environment in Iowa, managed care, we are seeing limited, increasing limited funds out there and there are difficulties related to that. You know with Hope Haven, because we do a broad array of services, we were not recipients of a federal block grant for mental health therapy services. That helps other organizations and we're glad that's out there and available, but we're continuing to have to run a tight and tighter ship. You know, we just have seen this with Compass Pointe, now we see the changes at Hope Haven. It's important that we as citizens are talking to our legislators and say hey, this stuff matters to us and we need to see it funded because we do need to see continued improvement in that."

Buley estimates some 400 clients of Hope Haven will be impacted by the decision. He adds the number of people in need of those services only continues to grow.