Bipartisan agreement to keep Mental Health Institutes open for Iowa families

Written by Theresa Rose on June 4, 2015

(Des Moines) Leaders in the Iowa Senate Democratic Majority Caucus and the Iowa House Republican Majority Caucus have agreed to support legislation that will keep the Mount Pleasant and Clarinda Mental Health Institutes open.

“Iowa families already often struggle to find high quality, accessible, affordable mental health care,” said Senator Rich Taylor. “Because reducing access to intensive mental health services would only make things worse, we’ve worked out a bipartisan agreement.”

“Mental illnesses can be especially challenging to families and communities,” said Representative Dave Heaton. “After carefully considering the issues and listening to health care providers and advocates, Democrats and Republicans worked together to arrive at this bipartisan solution.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute will remain open as it was at the beginning of July 2014. That means it will provide adult acute psychiatric care and dual diagnosis substance abuse in-patient care.

The two caucuses have also agreed to fund a transition for the Clarinda Mental Health Institute. Under the agreement, that MHI will remain open through December 15, 2015. The Iowa Department of Human Services will look for a private nursing home contractor who can provide nursing services for persons who are sexually aggressive or combative due to a mental illness beginning on December 16, 2015. The private contractor is required to give hiring preference to current Clarinda employees.

“I hope Governor Branstad will support this ‘win-win’ agreement that addresses the concerns of Iowa’s mental health experts, health care providers, and Iowa families,” said Taylor.
Heaton said the Governor will have to see that the entire state supports keeping the facilities open.