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The 2019 Iowa Legislature Session--a Republican view

Posted: Mon, May 13, 2019 8:52 PM

Dorchester State Representative Michael Bergan says one of the major achievements of the 2019 session of the Iowa Legislature was the creation of a mental health system designed for Iowa's children.

Bergan says there wasn't any consistency to the previous system, which sometimes led to parents having to take their children to Iowa City or Des Moines to get the help they needed.  The legislation approved by this year's legislature creates a board which will set priorities for the children's mental health system.  Bergan thinks that will have a big impact on rural areas of the state.

He's hoping the legislature will approve additional funding for the children's mental health system in the next two or three years.  Currently 97 percent of payment for mental health services for children comes either from the Hawk-I program or from Medicaid.  But while funding sources might need to be discussed further, Bergan says he's encouraged by the way stakeholders in the system came together and agreed on priorities.  He says that lays the groundwork for expansion in future sessions and will ensure that parents have local resource where they can go to find mental health treatment.