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NO MOVEMENT ON MH/DS REGIONAL FUNDING FIX

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There are a lot of challenges to funding this year. This doesn’t have to be one of them. The state’s mental health and disability services (MH/DS) regions have a plan to pay for these locally-managed, county-funded, regionally-delivered services to Iowans who are not eligible for Medicaid or need services not covered by Medicaid. These services help Iowans with disabilities live and work in their community of choice. While the regional system has been called a huge success by state lawmakers, state agency leaders, the Governor, advocates, and others, the system has one serious flaw. There is not enough money to continue to pay for these services.

The Iowa State Association of Counties knew state legislators would not be willing to spend the $30 million promised for the system when it was redesigned in 2012. So they developed a plan of their own - elected county supervisors would set their own property tax rates to pay for these services (up to the current $47.28 per person limit). Counties in a region would work together to figure out a fair way to fund their system. Budgets and plans would continue to be approved by the Department of Human Services, who would make sure that the services provided are appropriate and meet state guidelines.

Only one of the three funding bills introduced this session is still alive (SF 365 by Sen. David Johnson). Legislators have not yet held a single subcommittee, committee, or hearing on the bills that were introduced. They have not publicly discussed what they will do, despite a growing list of supporters for the county plan. In a year of public protests and public hearings, not one discussion has been held on this very important issue. If this is important to you:

  • Come to Advocating for Change Day on April 6 (click here to register).
  • Email your legislators here.
  • Call your State Senator (515-281-3371) and State Representative (515-281-3221).

Tips on Your Message:

  • introduce yourself, and let them know where you live (city).
  • Tell them what types of services you get that are funded by your MH/DS region.
  • Tell them what those services mean to you, and what would happen if funding was not available.
  • Urge them to support the county plan for funding regional MH/DS services.