Legislative Update – Week Three

Under the Golden Dome

Week three is a wrap at the Iowa Legislature.   The big news this week is the release of the Senate tax plan to reduce income taxes.  The House proposal is expected shortly.  This issue is a priority for both chambers and the governor.  Bills are beginning to move through the process.  The House Human Resources Committee had a busy week pushing out legislation on mental health (see Bills of Interest for ones that IMHCA is following).

Your advocacy is important to help advance our agenda.  Please save the date – IMHCA Day on the Hill is scheduled for March 7!


Bills of Interest (bills with **indicate action or new legislation)

**HSB 512:  Clarifies that autism is a mental health condition by aligning state and federal definitions.  The bill passed the House Human Resources Committee.  IMHCA is registered in support of the bill.


**HSB 513:  The original bill created a prescribing mental health provider loan repayment program.  The bill was amended in House Human Resources Committee to add language (identical to SSB 3003), a non-prescribing mental health provider loan repayment program.  The amendment also included an additional $500,000 to fund the program.  IMHCA will register in support of the bill when it is introduced with a new number.  We are not currently registered on HSB 513 as it didn’t originally apply to us.


**HSB 564:  This bill allows the state office of the ombudsman to procure AND release confidential records as part of its investigation into a state agency or board.  This means that any confidential records regarding someone licensed under the Board of Behavioral Sciences could be requested and released as part of an investigation.  The bill is before the House State Government Committee.  IMHCA is registered opposed.


**HF 625/SSB3071:  These bills expand current statutory authority to establish a direct healthcare agreement between any licensed healthcare provider and a patient.  Current law only allows that to occur between a primary care provider and a patient.   A direct healthcare agreement means that the provider agrees to provide specific services to the patient for a specified time and for a service charge.  HF 625 was approved by the House Human Resources Committee.  IMHCA is registered as undecided.


HF 2031:  Prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage for an out-of state mental health provider who is licensed to practice in Iowa and met the same criteria for licensure as those who practice in the state.    The bill is in the House Human Resources Committee.  IMHCA is registered in support of the bill.


**HF 2042/SSB 3054:  These bills would allow the release of psychological test materials to the opposing counsel if the litigation included a question of the individual’s cognitive ability.   This provides an open door to making it easier to get all mental health records during litigation.  The bills are in their respective chambers Judiciary Committees.  HF 2042 was approved by subcommittee but work to amend it is ongoing.  IMHCA is registered opposed.


**HF 2134:  This bill prohibits non-compete agreements that would place limits on an employees ability to work for a different employer within a specified amount of time; working for a different employer in a specified geographical area or working for a different employer who is similar to the employee’s work with the current employer.  The bill is before the House Labor Committee.  IMHCA is reviewing the legislation to determine a position.


**SSB 3003: Creates a mental health provider loan repayment program for individuals who agree to serve in a mental health shortage area for five years.  To qualify, you must have graduated from a recognized program in Iowa and be licensed to practice in Iowa.  The definition of a mental health provider is tied to those without prescriptive authority in 228.1 (defines mental health provider).  Successful applicants would receive up to $8,000 for each of the five years.  The appropriations request is for $520,000 to fund 13 positions.  This bill was approved by subcommittee and is before the Senate Education Committees.  IMHCA is registered in support.