Mental health bills face uphill battle at Iowa Statehouse

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Three mental health bills face an uphill battle in the state legislature. They passed the Iowa House with broad bipartisan support, but are stuck in the Senate. The bills seek to expand mental health care options and funding in the state. The bill would require a lower Medicaid rate for those who need a higher level of psychiatric care. A bill would add 12 new psychiatry residency programs through the University of Iowa. NAMI Iowa’s Peggy Huppert says these three bills are needed and it’s worrisome that they stalled in the Senate after passing through the House last month. Huppert says new programs are needed because there aren’t enough inpatient beds for those struggling with serious mental illness. , in our view, should be the provider of last resort,” Huppert said. She says an inpatient bed is a safe place for someone who is suffering from psychosis, suicidal or violent thoughts. Iowa currently ranks among the worst states in the nation for psychiatric care, and both Republicans and Democrats agree that mental health care needs to be addressed. It’s unclear when and if the Senate will debate these bills, but Republicans and Democrats say there’s still time for these bills to pass before the end of the legislative session. State Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D) said, “Absolutely, we have the time. Budget negotiations are underway. All of these bills are relatively inexpensive.” State Rep. Ann Meyer (R) said, “I don’t know if there’s any lawmaker saying it’s not a priority in their district.” State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink (R), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, discussed House bills. “These bills have a combined fiscal impact of more than $10 million when fully implemented. Budget agreement with the House will be required prior to consideration of these bills. policies to ensure a conservative and sustainable state budget,” Kraayenbrink. The legislative session could end in the next few weeks, which means the time for senators to pass the bill is running out. Lawmakers hope to conclude the legislative session by here Easter.

Three mental health bills face an uphill battle in the state legislature. They passed the Iowa House with broad bipartisan support, but stalled in the Senate.

The bills seek to expand mental health care options and funding in the state.

A bill extends loan forgiveness to state mental health providers.

A bill would require a lower Medicaid rate for those who need a higher level of psychiatric care.

A bill would add 12 new psychiatry residency programs at the University of Iowa.

NAMI Iowa’s Peggy Huppert says these three bills are needed and it’s concerning that they’re stalled in the Senate after passing through the House last month.

Huppert says new programs are needed because there aren’t enough inpatient beds for people with serious mental illness.

“It’s very, very difficult to get them a bed with a private provider, and the state, in our view, should be the provider of last resort,” Huppert said.

She says an inpatient bed is a safe place for someone with psychosis, suicidal or violent thoughts.

Iowa currently ranks among the worst states in the nation for psychiatric care, and both Republicans and Democrats agree that mental health care needs to be addressed.

It’s unclear when and if the Senate will debate these bills, but Republicans and Democrats say there’s still time for these bills to pass before the end of the legislative session.

State Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D) said, “Absolutely, we have the time. Budget negotiations are underway. All of these bills are relatively inexpensive.”

State Rep. Ann Meyer (R) said, “I don’t know if there’s any lawmaker saying it’s not a priority in their district.”

State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink (R), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, discussed House bills.

“These bills have a combined fiscal impact of more than $10 million when fully implemented. Budget agreement with the House will be required prior to consideration of these policies to ensure a conservative state budget and sustainable,” said Kraayenbrink.

The legislative session could end in the next few weeks, which means the time for senators to pass the bill is running out. Lawmakers hope to wrap up the legislative session by Easter.

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