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Senate votes to improve mental health services for Iowans

We voted this week to make mental health and disability services more accessible and affordable to Iowans in all parts of the state.|From Sen. Amanda Ragan

We voted this week to make mental health and disability services more accessible and affordable to Iowans in all parts of the state.

Senate File 525 creates a legislative interim committee to propose statutory legislation to redesign our state’s mental health and disability services, which are used by Iowans with mental illness, intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities. The committee will develop legislation to establish a set of basic services that all counties must provide and to streamline funding.

The goal is to develop a statewide system that is regionally administered and locally delivered to provide greater access to mental health care and services for Iowans who need them. The new system must be in place by July 1, 2013.

Currently, mental health services for adults are provided at the county level, meaning Iowa has up to 99 different mental health systems. Services generally include treatment, vocational opportunities, support services that help Iowans remain a part of their community, and group homes.

Reform is also necessary because funding for our mental health system is complex, comes from a variety of sources, and is not sufficient to cover costs.

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