Lawmakers are looking at changing the way Iowa’s Mental Health System is set up. Currently it is a county based system, with services decided by each individual county. Lawmakers are looking at a regional system, with the same core services being provided across the whole region. They are also looking at funding. As it is now, patients seeking mental health care receive monetary help from the counties they lived in when the mental disorder began.
It’s called legal settlement, and it means if they move to another county, they still get funding from the county they once lived in for outpatient services, but still have to travel to the original county for inpatient services. Washington County’s Central Point of Coordination, Bobbie Wulf, says we have a lot of people who move to the county to receive mental health care because of the high quality of our services.
If legal settlement was replaced by a residency based system, Washington County would have to pay for the services of those patients who are currently paid for by their original county. She says this would create some problems, either the services would have to be cut, or they would need more funding to provide the same services.
It’s a very complex issue and if you’d like to hear more details about these potential reforms, listen to a two part In Touch program starting today.