New law expands Iowa's mental health services

Governor signed new legislation on Thursday.

Posted: Mar 29, 2018 12:38 PM
Updated: Mar 29, 2018 2:50 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new law signed Thursday by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds expands mental health services across the state.

The law creates six access centers to provide short-term care for people in crisis and doubles the number of teams across the state that provide 24/7 flexible treatment and support to patients.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency estimates the total cost at more than $31 million over two years. Funding would come from federal, state and local taxes. Iowa's 14 mental health regions would spend down excess cash reserves to pay for initial costs.

The law adopts recommendations made by a stakeholder group that examined ways to help Iowa residents with mental health and substance abuse issues. The group began to find ways to address a shortage of psychiatric hospital beds in the state, especially after the 2015 closing of state mental health institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant.

Marilyn Rhoten, vice president of behavioral services at CHI Health, which provides inpatient psychiatric services in southwest Iowa, served on the groupand said some patients can occupy beds for months. The access centers along with intensive residential service homes to provide help to up to 120 people should free up beds for acute psychiatric patients.

Peggy Huppert, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness-Iowa, said the legislation establishes specific deadlines and objectives, making it easier to hold everyone involved accountable. She said it's up to everyone involved to work together to ensure it gets implemented properly.

"Believe me, if it doesn't, we'll be shouting about it," Huppert said.

Iowa has a shortage of psychiatric hospital beds, especially after the 2015 closing of state mental health institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant.

Clive resident Mary Neubauer said her family was frustrated by Iowa's lack of mental health resources when they sought treatment for her 18-year-old son, Sergei, who killed himself last fall. He went to mental health facilities in Arizona and California, and Neubauer said having to seek help out of state "was a factor in what happened to him."

She praised the legislation — which received unanimous approval in the Legislature — as making critical improvements to mental health services, particularly by creating more residential treatment options.

"This was exactly the kind of care that our son needed and that we could not find in Iowa," Neubauer said. "Does that bill fix everything that's wrong here in Iowa? No. I think it is a good start."

The legislation focuses on adults, but Reynolds said she plans to issue an executive order in the coming weeks to establish a platform for a children's mental health service system.

"We can and must do better for Iowa's children," Reynolds said.

Reynolds also signed a bill Thursday requiring Iowa school districts to train educators on how to identify and help students at risk of suicide.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604406

Reported Deaths: 7629
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1249281777
Ramsey52501896
Dakota46829470
Anoka42767458
Washington27423291
Stearns22555224
St. Louis18138313
Scott17550135
Wright16374149
Olmsted13397102
Sherburne1201695
Carver1067248
Clay826092
Rice8200110
Blue Earth762544
Crow Wing681794
Kandiyohi667985
Chisago619852
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475481
Mower470633
Winona461351
Itasca459463
Isanti439964
McLeod430561
Morrison424862
Beltrami407861
Nobles407650
Steele397916
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton352856
Freeborn346933
Pine335023
Nicollet331245
Mille Lacs311954
Brown307840
Le Sueur297326
Cass286132
Todd285633
Meeker263342
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211221
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196641
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176539
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163323
Fillmore157410
Faribault154719
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95417
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48393
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371050

Reported Deaths: 6051
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58259640
Linn21218339
Scott20307248
Black Hawk16139312
Woodbury15238230
Johnson1461985
Dubuque13509211
Dallas1128899
Pottawattamie11225174
Story1071448
Warren583891
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554093
Sioux517474
Webster515794
Muscatine4882106
Marshall486676
Des Moines467472
Wapello4338122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288461
Carroll286952
Boone268634
Crawford268440
Benton259855
Washington257251
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232651
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama211971
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198635
Page194522
Buchanan193833
Cedar192423
Hardin187444
Fayette186643
Wright186040
Hamilton181951
Harrison180073
Clayton171157
Butler166335
Madison164619
Mills163824
Floyd163442
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152952
Hancock150334
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133435
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union130035
Louisa129849
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124817
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113623
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96732
Monroe96431
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7618
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56418
Wayne54423
Audubon53411
Adams3444
Rochester
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 60°
Mason City
Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 62°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Charles City
Mostly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 63°
Sun today, but storms likely for Father's Day
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Ryan's Morning Forecast (6/20/21)

Image

Million Dollar Hole-In-One shootout begins Saturday

Image

Juneteenth Jubilee

Image

Hayfield baseball team wins state

Image

Flavor Fest

Image

Ryan's 6 PM Weather

Image

Ryan's Evening Forecast (6/19/21)

Image

Organizers put finishing touches on Rochesterfest preparations

Image

Med City leaders consider adding security cameras downtown

Image

City Council weighs adding more camera downtown

Community Events