SOUTHWEST 8 SENIORS SERVICES SUCCESSFUL APPLICANT
By: Barbara Morrison, Executive Director
Southwest 8 Senior Services
On November 15th, Southwest 8 Senior Services was named the Area Agency on Aging for the new redesigned Planning and Service Area 6. The effective date will be July 1, 2013.
This decision is a major milestone in a process that began in January 2011. It was then that House File 45, a major taxpayer reduction bill, was introduced into the Iowa Legislature. The bill contained the following language: “The department on aging shall develop a plan for reducing the number of area agencies in the state to not more than five, to be effective beginning July 1, 2011. The department shall submit the plan to the standing committees on human resources of the senate and house of representatives and the joint appropriations subcommittee on health and human services on or before February 25, 2011.”
The final bill that passed the Legislature that year, set the effective date as July 1, 2012, set the date for the plan submittal as December 15, 2011, and removed the specific requirement of reducing the number to five. It called for the reduction in the number of area agencies, but did not specify a specific number.
These weren’t the last changes however. As work began on developing a plan to reduce the number of area agencies, it was discovered that there was a conflicting law that required the Iowa Commission to name thirteen (13) area agencies on aging. Since this is the current number of area agencies on aging, something needed to change. The Department on Aging went to the Legislature and asked them to change the wording/requirement for the Commission. This was not as simple as one might think and took longer than expected. Therefore, the effective date was changed once more. The new effective date was set for July 1, 2013.
The next step was for the Iowa Commission on Aging to establish the geographic area each of the new area agencies would serve. These are called Planning and Service Areas (PSA’s). On April 27th the Commission approved a map that established six Planning and Service Areas for the state.
Once this was set, the process moved to the application phase. Guidelines were established that spelled out what type of agencies were qualified to be an area agency. A Request for Application was then issued by the Department of Administrative Services. Any qualified agency could submit a proposal to serve any one of the six Planning and Service Areas. The applications were due in on October 19th.
The Planning and Service Area that Southwest 8 falls into is PSA 6. Also included in this area are two other current area agencies. Siouxland Aging Services located in Sioux City and Area XIV Area Agency on Aging located in Creston. Southwest 8, working with these two agencies, submitted an application to serve as the area agency for the new PSA 6. Our application was selected by the Iowa Commission on Aging at their November 15th meeting.
The new Planning and Service area covers 20 counties. It included the 5 counties currently served by Siouxland Aging Services (Plymouth, Cherokee, Woodbury, Ida, and Monona), the 7 counties currently served by Area XIV (Taylor, Ringgold, Decatur, Adams, Union, Clarke, and Adair) and the 8 counties currently served by Southwest 8 (Harrison, Shelby, Pottawattamie, Cass, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont, and Page).
Now that we have been selected, the process kicks into gear to bring the 3 agencies together. The plan is to look for best practices and efficiencies in operation so that older individuals in the entire 20 county service area will have equal access to equal services. It is anticipated that our current customers will not see a change in the great service, information and support they receive from Southwest 8. As the plans gel, we will be keeping you informed and letting you know how you can be helpful. One thing that will need to happen is selecting a name for the expanded agency. Watch for details on how you can help select the name. A new Board of Directors and Advisory Council will also be established. If you are interested in serving on either, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for updates as we continue getting ready for July 1, 2013.