County renews agreement with Transition LINK

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Henry County Supervisors renewed the memorandum of understanding between Henry County and the Southeast Iowa LINK, which provides mental health intake screenings and determines needs and facilitates connections to community-based services and supports for incarcerated inmates.

Not much has changed in the memorandum from last year other than the description of Coordinator of Disability Services? Sarah Berndt?s role with Transition LINK and a few clarifications in the memorandum, Berndt said during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday, May 24.

The budget stayed the same at $240,000 for three full time employees and 15 percent of Berndt?s time supervising the program.

Berndt also discussed with Supervisors whether a clarification needed to be made to the indigent burial ordinance.

Berndt has received two requests this past month for cremation arrangements by the county after the person who had died had already been cremated. The ordinance reads that an ?application for burial assistance shall be made before formalizing any arrangements with the funeral home.?

The first request was made three weeks after the person died. The person died April 11 and the request for county burial was made May 4. Berndt said the funeral home gave her a ?heads up? that the family might need to submit an application for assistance, but she didn?t hear from the family for three weeks after all funeral arrangements were formalized.

The second request was from a funeral home director who thought there was no time limit on when the county would reimburse for a cremation.

Berndt said funeral homes have 30 days to submit an application for county burials if there truly are no family members present to oversee the proceedings. She also said she has not had these issues in the past with people misunderstanding the ordinance, and family of the deceased are in her office requesting assistance within 48 to 72 hours.

?When it happens once, it?s a fluke. When it happens twice maybe our ordinance isn?t clear,? Berndt said.

After some discussion, Berndt and Supervisors determined the ordinance was clear and that Berndt just needed to reiterate to funeral home directors that arrangements with the county need to be made before any arrangements are finalized with the funeral home.