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Ensuring more Iowans have access to mental health services

April 17, 2013
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D- State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The Legislature is continuing its bipartisan efforts to expand access to affordable health care.

Your address should not determine the health care available to you. That is why the Legislature has worked in recent years to make mental health and disability services more consistent across the state. We recently took another step toward implementing a regional mental health and disability services system that will give Iowans access to critical services, regardless of where they live.

The Senate plan (SF 415) is based on recommendations of an interim committee tasked with analyzing the fiscal viability of the mental health and disability services redesign provisions the Legislature enacted in 2012. The bill, which has now received the stamp of approved from the Senate Appropriations Committee, would:

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Sate Senator Steve Sodders

Authorize regions to provide mental health and disability services that research shows to be effective and efficient.

Ensure those currently eligible for county services remain eligible after the regions are formed.

Allow county services to continue this year while the new regions develop their service plans.

Establish new technology standards to improve reporting and make information more available to the public online.

Create a panel to recommend improvements for mental health and other programs for children.

The Senate plan invests $29.8 million over the next year to support local services and ensure Iowans get the care they need as we move through the transition to a regional system.

Senate File 415 now goes to the full Senate for debate.



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