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Cedar Rapids Senator Outlines Plan for Action on Mental Health

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Following the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on mental health, Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids challenged others in the Legislature to take action.  He outlined is plan for moving forward on the issue (the comments on each item are his).

  1. Fully Fund the MH/DD Re-Design Transition Fund - The state must provide an adequate transition fund – $20 million or more – to ensure that people do not lose services or face waiting lists for services during the MH/DS re-design.  The scenarios identified by the DHS did not account for all needs or for every county.
     
  2. Fully Fund the MHDS Regional Services Fund – The minimum funding needed for regional services fund is $13.4 million for FY14 to provide block grants to counties for non-Medicaid funded services.
     
  3. Fully Fund the MHDS Equalization Fund – The minimum funding needed to equalize counties that have been capped on property taxes below the specified per capita amount is $29.8 million.  The per capita level may also be too low.
     
  4. Expand Medicaid – The federal Affordable Care Act gives states the ability to expand Medicaid to provide health insurance for low-income adults in addition to low-income children, seniors, and disabled.  Expanded Medicaid would provide health care including mental health for an estimated 200,000 Iowans (net savings to the state).
     
  5. Fund and Expand 24/7 Emergency Services And Outreach – The state could fund the 24/7 crisis hot line to improve awareness and expand services (estimated cost: $600,000) and mobile crisis units for each region statewide (estimated cost: $3 million).
     
  6. Fund Regional Residential Care Facilities – The state funds state mental health institutes, but not regional residential care facilities.  The state should fund residential care facilities for commitments and other services to maintain and improve services and to avoid higher-cost alternatives (estimated cost: $15 million).
     
  7. Pre-Commitment Screening – Some counties have used pre-commitment screening to find alternatives to judicial commitment through the courts.  The state should provide all applicants for judicial commitment with pre-commitment screening to identify more appropriate and potentially less costly alternatives (estimated cost: $3.6 million).
     
  8. Expand Core Services To Include Development Disabilities and Brain Injuries – MH/DS re-design left developmental disabilities and brain injuries out of the initial core services contingent on sufficient funding.  The state should provide sufficient funding to include development disabilities and brain injuries (cost estimate needed).
     
  9. Fund and Operate the ANCHOR Center – The ANCHOR Center was built by the state several years ago to provide outpatient and inpatient services for people under correctional supervision who have mental health conditions.  Although the facility has been opened partially on an outpatient basis, it has never been funded and operated as originally intended (estimated cost:  $2.6 million).
     
  10. Sheltered Workshops – Sheltered workshops have been cut because they are not considered mental health treatment.  The state should provide funding for our sheltered workshop workforce to avoid higher-cost treatment options (estimated cost: $5 million).

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infoNET and ID Action do not endorse policies, plans, or bills. We report on them, provide the tools and opportunities to help our readers take action, and encourage people to take action on things they feel are important to them.  So while the Senate Democrats have been the first to outline a plan of action on mental health reform, we will report on other legislator's plans to address the needs of Iowans served by the mental health and disability services system.