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Hillcrest Family Services closing two programs next month

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) – Two eastern Iowa cities will lose two programs focused on mental health.

Hillcrest Family Services announced that it will close the Sub-acute Services Program in Dubuque as well as the Jones County Mental Health Center in Monticello. Both will close within the next month.

Each closure is due to financial issues. In news release, Hillcrest says both programs have been operating at deficits for nearly a year.

The following statement was given by Francie Tuescher, interim president and CEO at Hillcrest Family Services,:

“We have run these programs at a deficit for many months, in the hopes that our funding sources would see the benefit in these services.

With continued constricted reimbursements and lack of support from the state level, we cannot continue to operate the Sub-acute program. The Sub-acute Program provides an intensive in-patient experience to individuals with brain health illnesses. These services are an intermediary measure to keep patients from seeking expensive emergency room treatment or placement into jail or hospitalization. We will continue to provide support to clients through our mobile crisis outreach, therapy and medication management, as well as other services at our Dubuque and satellite locations. We estimate that the closure will affect up to 15 employees in Dubuque. ”Tuescher adds, “The Jones County center closure is based on low utilization. Fortunately, patients there can access services at other providers in the Monticello area. But the change will affect up to two employees in Monticello. The Jones County Mental Health Center provides a range of mental health services to residents of Jones County, including therapy and medication management.

For both programs, we are doing what we can to find our employees comparable positions either within the Hillcrest organization, or by helping them network with other area providers.”

The Hillcrest Board of Directors chairperson, Ali Fuller, says the decision is one they’ve struggled with for quite some time.

“We know that when we make fiscal decisions, we are also making decisions that impact people’s lives. Our board was unified in making these closure decisions after reviewing months of budget data and watching the downward trend in the utilization of these programs.

We, like other mental health care organizations in the state, are increasingly frustrated at the lack of funding from the state level. It leaves us very little choice but to cut programming that just cannot sustain itself,” said Fuller.

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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