Magistrate thinks the county is wasting tax dollars on hospital testing
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Attorney and Henry County Magistrate Tim Liechty was at Thursday’s board of supervisors meeting for a real-estate matter but talked more about a recent experience he had with someone who was suffering from a mental illness.
Liechty said he recently dealt with a case involving a woman who kicked in a door and obviously, according to him, needed mental-health treatment. He said he was surprised by the battery of tests the patient was administered at the hospital.
“We have a real issue with mental health,” he began. “I had a lady who was one of the worst mental cases I’ve ever seen. At the hospital they ran her through a battery of tests that included an EKG and urine. Iowa Lutheran Hospital (located in Des Moines) told me they don’t do any of those.”
Liechty said the Iowa Code does not require these tests on mental-health cases, adding the county is spending a lot of needless money. “I don’t see why we are spending all of this money when it is not needed. The hospitals are dictating what has to be done.
“If the person does not have (health) insurance, which a lot of these people don’t have, there are a lot of taxpayer dollars being wasted,” Liechty continued. “There was no doubt this lady had to be put away, she was a real danger. …It was a real bother to me that they do all these tests. She wasn’t there for a physical.”
The magistrate said the lady also was upset with all the testing, saying she thought it was an invasion of her privacy.
He said he also knows of cases where mental-health patients have had to wait five days to be placed in a facility.
“It seems like we are racking up a lot of charges that we don’t need,” Liechty stated. “I don’t know on what basis they have to do this. There was no doubt she had to go. I think this is something someone needs to take a look at.”
The supervisors said they didn’t have any answers with the exception that hospitals may be protecting themselves from a potential liability lawsuit. The board said it would discuss the matter with representatives from the Southeast Iowa Link (SEIL), the regional mental-health group serving the county.
In the real-estate matter brought forth by Liechty, supervisors approved the subdivision of some property owned by Charles and Janet Sutter, located across from the church at Oakland Mills.
Supervisors also accepted the annual weed commission report from Harold Pollmeier, weed commissioner.
In his report, Pollmeier identified the following weeds as problems in the county: bull thistle; Canada thistle; leafy spurge; cocklebur; curly dock; poison hemlock; smooth dock; teasel; velvetleaf; wild carrot, wild mustard; multi-flora rose; and shattercane.
Pollmeier said he used spraying, cutting, stump treatment and basal bark as methods of controlling weeds. Overall, he said the weed problem in the county was unchanged from 2015.
Thursday’s meeting was the final one of the year for the board. Supervisors will host their first 2017 meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 9 a.m., in the Henry County Courthouse.