BACKUS - Kim Minton of Cass County Health, Human and Veterans Services Department reported to the county board Tuesday that 65 volunteer drivers drove senior citizens 182,588 miles in 2006, primarily to medical appointments and for grocery shopping.
This is up from the 123,783 miles driven in 2005.
Drivers receive only a mileage reimbursement at the IRS rate, which cost $70,894 in 2006. Riders paid $12,591 in fees and donations to help support the program. The county collected about $10,000 from medical assistance reimbursements, then paid the balance.
Minton said she has applied for a grant, which could be awarded in 2008 to also help offset some of the county costs. The 2007 county senior transportation budget is $90,000.
Anyone interested in driving a few days a week or month or who would like to use the service can contact Minton at (218) 547-1340, ext. 302.
Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Dorothy Opheim reported to the county board Tuesday it is an ongoing challenge to find revenue sources and identify cost-saving measures to minimize the impact of state and federal revenue cuts.
Programs she expects to be affected in 2007 could include child support, income maintenance and child welfare.
She also noted the challenge to work with Leech Lake Human Services to recruit, license and train people to run foster homes that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children who need foster and adoptive homes. In 2007, the department will work toward reducing the over-representation of American Indian children in foster care.
The department in 2007 will build upon the South Country Health Alliance cooperative Cass joined in 2006 to provide optimum care coordination for other member counties and for medical assistance clients the program serves, she said.
New funding will be needed if women's health clinics will continue here past the current grant expiration date of April 2008.
Options for expanding the veterans transportation program will be explored this year. Veterans services also hopes to increase community awareness of veteran benefits available to the elderly and surviving members of veterans families and to increase contact with Gulf War veterans.
Further public education also will be provided concerning disability programs for those exposed to asbestos, radiation and Agent Orange.
Opheim reported the county spent $1,222,352 of the $12,772,330 HHVS budget in January this year. Out-of-home child placements cost $203,944 in January for 122 children, with $79,957 of that for children in correctional facilities and $69,897 for children in foster homes.
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