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Mental health funding a concern

By Staff | Apr 8, 2011

One issue of key concern to Iowa county governments state mental health funding received significant discussion at last Saturday’s legislative town hall meeting at the Estherville Public Library Community Room.

Emmet County Board of Supervisors Chair Bev Juhl asked Sen. Jack Kibbie about state funding.

Kibbie said House Bill 45 would turn all county mental health dollars over to the state but counties would still run the program. “It’s in negotiations right now,” Kibbie said.

The bill would provide a one-time appropriation of $25 million from the general fund to the Department of Human Services for the County Mental Health Risk Pool. These funds are intended to eliminate the mental health waiting lists.

The fill also:

” . . . sunsets the current mental health services delivery system on July 1, 2012. The bill directs the Human Resources, Appropriation, and Ways and Means Committees to propose legislation to phase in the state takeover of the nonfederal share of the costs for Medicaid program services now borne by counties. The committees are also to provide property tax relief and equity by having the state assume a greater role in funding the adult mental health and disability services systems. Also, the bill would shift the balance of responsibilities for the services between the state and counties so that the state ensures greater uniformity and there is sufficient size to develop effective services while maintaining the county role of bringing local resources together in unique ways that best meet the needs of clients, by implementing a new services system structure by July 1, 2012, when the repeals contained in this division take effect.”

Kibbie said four counties on the waiting list are already levying the maximum allowable by law.