The Legislature made great progress in 2018 and 2019 in reforming Iowa’s systems of mental health care for children and adults. When fully implemented, Iowa’s children and their families, indeed all Iowans, will greatly benefit from their fine work. With that solid start, the necessary next step is providing adequate, predictable, sustainable funding for the new system. We understand COVID-19 has impacted Iowa’s budget, however mental health services for adults and children have become even more critical. In crafting Iowa’s next state budget, we ask legislators to consider:
Maintaining current funding amounts for adults and increasing funding for children’s mental health crisis services to include a statewide hotline, provide for local mobile crisis services for children, and to provide crisis observation centers specifically for children;
Lifting restrictions to enable dollar shifts in any region that has had insufficient funds to pay for adult and children’s mental health prior to COVID-19 and now faces cutting services;
Extending broadband so all people in Iowa can receive telemedicine services which includes mental health services;
Extending the cutoff for telemedicine and the reimbursement rate. Mental health concerns (including COVID related) will not end when confinements end but will continue post COVID physical health concerns;
Ensuring telemedicine reimbursement rates for mental health are mandatory for ALL insurers.
[Photo courtesy of AMOS]
Lawmakers, Please Don't Lose Momentum on Mental Health, Iowa Capital Dispatch [pdf]