Under the Golden Dome
This week marked the first funnel deadline. A bill has to pass a committee in one chamber to remain alive for consideration. IMHCA’s two major priorities – non-compete clauses and the counseling compact are both “funnel-proof”. There is strong support for both bills in both chambers. HF 93 passed the House and will next be considered by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The counseling compact is eligible for the Senate debate calendar and the House version was referred to House Ways and Means.
March also marks the start of budget work. Both chambers will release their budget targets and begin to work on budget bills. In addition, the revenue estimating council will meet in March to review the status of Iowa’s revenue projections. IMHCA has continued to stress that Iowa’s Medicaid rates for counseling are out of step with the surrounding states and need to be increased.
Bills of Interest
HF 93: This bill prohibits non-compete clauses for any mental health professional as defined in 228.1, including mental health counselors. HF 93 passed the House 95-0 and is before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. IMHCA is registered in support of both bills.
HF 151: This bill strikes the code language for the newly created mental health professional loan repayment program for mental health counselors, mental health social workers, psychologists and marriage and family therapists. It creates a new mental health practitioner loan repayment program that includes all mental health professionals as defined in 228.1, including nurses, PAs and psychiatrists. It also provides for a $1.5 million appropriation. The current program for mental health counselors is funded at $520,000. The bill passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and is before the House Appropriations Committee. IMHCA is registered undecided.
HF 180: This bill prohibits schools from facilitating any accommodation to affirm a student’s gender identity if it is different from the student’s sex listed at birth unless the parent or guardian consents to these accommodations. The bill passed the House Education Committee. IMHCA is registered opposed to the bill.
HF 243: This bill eliminates the age limit and maximum coverage for behavioral analysis treamtent for autism for both Medicaid and private insurers. Current law does not allow such coverage beyond the age of 21 and limits the total amount of coverage to no more than $36,000. HF 243 passed the House 99 – 0 and is before the Senate Commerce Committee.
IMHCA is registered in support of the bill.
HF 244/SF 253: These bills clarify that payments made to successful applicants under the mental health loan repayment program are annual payments made at the conclusion of each calendar year that the person fulfills the program requirements. The bills have been approved by the education committees in each chamber. IMHCA was successful in creating this program and is registered in support of this technical clarification.
HF 273/SF 210: These bills authorize the use of the term “brain health” and “brain illness” to be used synonymously with mental health, mental illness and behavioral health but does not impact any licensure, reimbursement or scope of practice. Both bills have been approved by the Health and Human Services Committees in both chambers. IMHCA is registered as undecided on both bills.
HF 348: This bill prohibits schools from providing instruction in gender identity and sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through six grade. Formerly HF 8, the bill was approved by the House Education Committee. IMHCA is registered opposed to the bill.
HF 494/SF 127: This bill adopts the national counseling compact legislation, allowing Iowa’s entry into this compact. The compact authorizes both in-person and telehealth practice by licensed individuals in other member states of the compact. Both bills have been approved by the Health and Human Services in each chamber. IMHCA is registered in support of both bills.
Bills that did not survive
HF 19: limits MH loan repayment to those working for agencies
SSB 1045: classifies occupational therapists as mental health professionals
SSB 1050: expanded autism insurance coverage (see HF 243)
SSB 1106: MH noncompete clauses (see HF 93)
SF 83: prohibits gender or sexual identity curriculum
SF 300: prohibits licensure discipline if don’t follow federal guidelines
HSB 130/SSB 1100: no prior auth requirement if provider was denied at least 80% of time