It's been a little less than a week since Compass Pointe Behavioral Health announced it would be closing, but local officials are already looking ahead to see what can be done to keep the same thing from happening to similar agencies. The Dickinson County Board of Supervisors discussed the situation with several officials for around half an hour at their most recent meeting. In general, the group agreed the state's current mental health care model is challenging at best. Medicaid managed care providers aren't staying in the Iowa market at a very high rate since the system was adopted around three years ago, and providers of various kinds aren't being paid on time for the services they provide. Supervisor Kim Wermersen said he had heard from a local who was formerly a pharmacist and once had a backlog of around $1 million in payments the MCOs owed. More over, Supervisor Tim Fairchild pointed out that, even if the MCOs paid providers the same day treatment is provided, they don't even pay an amount equal to the provider's cost – meaning providers are literally being asked to take a financial loss by the government. On the whole, that's not that different than what killed Compass Pointe. Unfortunately, the situation isn't limited to Compass Pointe as an organization. It plagues not only Season's Center for Behavioral Health – one of the first and most locally well-known entities to say they'll pick up where Compass Pointe left off – it affects any and all organizations like it. The situation is tenuous and, as Supervisor Pam Jordan put it, what Seasons has built is still fragile. It's undeniable that Compass Pointe's fate should serve as the proverbial canary in the coal mine of mental health funding. We're stifling the most vulnerable of us, and we will be next ourselves if we don't do something.
I had wanted to make a cartoon for the situation surrounding Compass Pointe and Seasons since the stories first broke last week. It was a pretty difficult image to get a hold of for me. Fortunately, a quote from Pam Jordan this morning gave me some inspiration. Unfortunately, I didn't get the panel done before the opinion page was finished for tonight's press run. I think, in part, it was the labeling that slowed me down. I think, if the logos for both Compass Pointe and Seasons were better known, it would have saved some time and some complexity. I could have just slapped them on the pottery. In addition, the columns themselves took a bit of time to get right. I had tried to do a shallow overhead view, but that didn't work quite so well for me in the time I gave myself. I had even thought of adding a sheepish child-like Uncle Sam between the two vases, but that would have taken much longer. I'd also considered colorizing the ink layers to make the image a bit less harsh to the eye, but it lost too much of it's weight. I think, in this case, it might have been too simply a composition to work without heavy lines.
Frankly, this one could have been better, and maybe I'll make a better version for later updates in the future, but today it is what it is. I've noticed a good portion of my panels are becoming flat, which I don't like so well. The problem is, doing more complex perspectives takes more time, which I don't necessarily have – especially on a deadline day. I think the most successful part of this cartoon is the motion of the vase.
This panel took around three hours to do. As I've said, there were a few factors which slowed me down, and I couldn't pin down some really good reference imagery for myself when I sat down to do it. Hears to posterity.
Thanks for reading.