2017 Legislative Update – Funnel Week

Iowa Mental Health Counselors

Legislative Update – March 3, 2017

Under the Golden Dome

The Legislature concluded its first funnel week, a time when all policy bills must have passed a committee in one chamber to remain alive. One of the most controversial bills, HSB 138 died a quick death after marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors and social workers, among others, raised serious objections to the elimination of their licensure.

HSB 174 was quickly introduced to place a one-year moratorium on new licensure categories and establishing a licensure review work group. This bill also failed to move through the process. However, legislators amended HF 229, originally a bill about electrician licensure, by striking the underlying language and inserting most of the language from HSB 174. However, HF 229 did not pass the House State Government Committee and the issue is dead for now. Keep in mind that reduction of licensure and oversight boards appears to be a priority for this governor. Until the legislature adjourns, nothing is officially dead.

IMHCA Day on the Hill – March 13

Are you attending the legislative day for mental health counselors on March 13? If not, please consider attending. This is a perfect opportunity for you to talk with legislators about your profession, the importance of a strong oversight and licensure program and how you serve mental health needs of Iowans. The day begins at 2:00 p.m. in the Legislative Dining Room at the Capitol with a briefing on the mechanics of talking to your legislator and the issues of the day. More information is available at https://imhca.net/upcoming-events/.

Bills that Survived

SF 75: This bill gives mental health providers the authority to notify law enforcement to protect the health and safety of a patient or a clearly identified victim. It also provides immunity protection for mental health professionals who do not provide this notice. IMHCA worked with the subcommittee to draft an amendment to clarify the situations in which such notification could occur and to provide immunity. IMHCA is registered as neutral on the bill. The Senate Human Resources Committee approved the bill.

SF 342: This bill allows a 1 ½ % penalty to apply to all clean claims submitted to Medicaid for reimbursement that are past 90 days. Clean claims is defined as “all information required for processing the claim is included”. The bill was also amended to include language from SF 343 that allows up to one year to file Medicaid claims. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill. The Senate Human Resources Committee approved the bill.

SF 400/HF 215: These bills require state-regulated insurance plans to provide coverage for ABA treatment for autism consistent with the requirements already imposed on the state employee’s plan. IMHCA is registered in support of both bills. The Human Resources Committees in each chamber approved these bills.

SSB 1071: This bill directs the Department of Public Health to convene a workgroup and make recommendations on health care worker attraction and retention. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill. The Senate Human Resources Committee approved the bill.

Bills that Failed

SF 85: art therapist licensure

SF 192: ABA licensure

SF 254: provider ask about gun ownership

SF 255: provider ask about anything other than health and insurance

SF 286: restore reimbursement cut to community mental health centers and others

SSB 1160: telehealth insurance coverage

SSB 1168: telehealth insurance coverage

HF 319: mental health providers can do substance abuse commitments

HF 342: mental health levy rate increase

HF 343: mental health levy rate increase

HF 348: telehealth insurance coverage

HF 352: school suicide, trauma informed care training

HSB 138: certificate of need/hospitals, licensure bill

HSB 174: certificate of need/licensure study


Emily Piper
Piper Consulting Services
PO Box 12011
Des Moines, Iowa 50312