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Finding options for Options of Linn County

LINN COUNTY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Each individual piece has its place, and it's not until you step back that you appreciate the whole puzzle.

This giant mural that hangs at Options of Linn County best illustrates that idea. Each piece made by one of its 200 clients, each client searching for a place in the community.

Just because they have disabilities doesn't mean there's a change in their daily life, said Director Jim Nagel.

Nagel helps the disabled find that place through job placement.

This allows individuals with disabilities to work and receive pay for their work, he says.

However, that long term picture is cloudy.

There's a confluence of events that could create a perfect storm to substantially change or eliminate options as we know it, said Linn County supervisor Brent Oleson.

One of the biggest threats is Medicaid changes. As of right now, Options is mostly funded by Medicaid waivers.

There could be some changes down the line on that and how much the reimbursement rates are, Nagel said. If that would have a change in it, it would affect the amount of revenue that we take in.

Oleson says the countys hands are tied. Iowa law limits county funding to just a mental health levy, prohibiting use of general funds and property taxes. So the county along with the center are exploring funding options.

The supervisor says in light of the Abbe Center funding issues, and subsequent closure, they don't want to take another chance.

We don't want that kind of situation for Options.

With the future in the hands of lawmakers, there's hope they can step back, and take a look at the big picture.

The Linn County board of supervisors is putting together a task force to deal with those potential funding issues. That task force will be appointed on Monday.
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