Governor’s Plan To Merge Mental Health Services With Substance Abuse Treatment

Des Moines, Iowa — A House subcommittee has approved the governor’s plan to create a statewide system that combines the regions in charge of mental health services with the regions in charge of providing substance use treatment.

Kelly Garcia, director of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, says the proposal would streamline services that have a lot of overlap and make it easier for Iowans to get help.

The proposed plan would go into effect July 1st of next year. Flora Schmidt is the executive director of the Iowa Behavioral Health Association. She says that the timeline is a concern.

Iowa currently has 13 regions that provide state and federally-funded services for Iowans with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities. There are 19 regions in charge of government-funded care for substance abuse and gambling addiction. The governor’s plan creates seven districts that would each provide all those services.

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