Hillcrest to get $40k from HRSA if they stay open

Request approved by Board of Health

Henry County Public Health is donating $40,000 from the HRSA grant to Hillcrest Family Services in Mt. Pleasant if they stay open.

While the future of the mental health services provider in Henry County is uncertain, staff at Hillcrest are scrambling to secure grants and any other available funding to continue meeting the needs of their patients after the nonprofit’s board voted to eliminate the Henry County program because of financial instability.

The $40,000 from HRSA is contingent upon Hillcrest’s board approval the Henry County program continue to operate. The board meets April 25.

“We wanted to offer our support. Mental health is one of our focus areas.” said Kelly Carr, healthy communities director with Public Health.

The potential donation was approved by the Board of Health during a meeting on Tuesday, April 9.

HRSA is a $1 million three-year federal grant to be used to create access to health care. The fiscal agent for the grant is Henry County. The grant ends June 30, 2020, with Public Health having plans to reapply for the grant on behalf of the county.

Carr said she met with Chris Betsworth, southeast Iowa mental health division director, to discuss how Public Health can support Hillcrest as they face an uncertain future. She shared grant opportunities Betsworth can pursue on behalf of Hillcrest next year and talked about HRSA.

“(HRSA) is looking at access to care, so having them open is so important,” Carr said.

Carr will not turn in the request to HRSA for Hillcrest until after Hillcrest gets approval from their board to remain open.

Hillcrest is also receiving rent forgiveness from the county, a monthly savings of $1,200.

The grant request from Hillcrest was a part of the Local Health Pulse Alliance, formerly HRSA Action Team, working with partners to build a stronger rural health network in Henry County, Carr said.

The Board of Health also approved a HRSA grant request of $8,943 for Enli Health Intelligence software to improve communication between Family Medicine and Henry County Health Center.

This grant request is a continuation of Family Medicine’s implementation of Enli Health Intelligence software. Since they began using the software, they have seen a 30 percent improvement in breast cancer and colon cancer screenings.

The next Board of Health meeting is Tuesday, May 14, at 12:30 p.m.