Legislators in Mt. P. Urge Gov to Approve MHI Funding

Written by Theresa Rose on June 24, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT — Bipartisan leaders of the Iowa House and Senate gathered today in Mount Pleasant to urge Governor Branstad to sign bipartisan legislation to ensure that the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute continues to provide mental health care to Iowa families.

Senator Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant, the organizer of the event, said “Iowans are asking Governor Branstad to do the right thing. The Governor should sign this bipartisan legislation and keep this institution open and allow the skilled, caring people who work here to continue providing help to people who have nowhere else to turn.”

Mount Pleasant community leaders joined Taylor and other legislators today for a joint event that focused on encouraging Iowans to contact the Governor to encourage him to sign the legislation that would keep the Mount Pleasant facility open. They included Steve Brimhall, Mayor of Mount Pleasant; Dr. Steve Titus, President of Iowa Wesleyan College; and Travis Krause, Executive Vice President, Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce.

In January, Governor Branstad surprised Iowa health care providers and advocates by proposing to close the Mount Pleasant institution.

“The Mount Pleasant MHI is an important local, regional and statewide resource,” said Representative Dave Heaton of Mount Pleasant. “Every Iowa community benefits from keeping these talented people working for Iowans in need. That’s why both the Iowa House and Senate voted to keep the Mount Pleasant facility open.”

Heaton is the House chair of the Joint Human Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. His Democratic counterpart, Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City, traveled to Mount Pleasant to make the case for keeping the mental health institute open.

“Given the fact that Iowa’s mental health care system is already struggling, legislators were shocked when Governor Branstad unilaterally called for the closure of the Mount Pleasant MHI,” said Ragan. “This issue was thoroughly discussed in the Legislature over the last six months. We worked hard to find common ground and Governor Branstad should honor that agreement.”

During the 2015 session, the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate approved legislation and provided funding to provide Iowa families with adult acute psychiatric care and dual diagnosis substance abuse in-patient care at the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute. Governor Branstad has until the first week of July to either approve or disapprove the agreement.