Legislative Update – Week One 2023

Under the Golden Dome

The legislative session is off and running.  The governor outlined her priorities for this legislative session and her proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.  It’s largely a status quo budget with respect to programs of interest to IMHCA members.

The new mental health loan repayment program which was funded at $520,000 (13 positions) for the current fiscal year was continued for next year at the same level.  College Student Aid intends to announce the application process later this spring and award grants prior to the end of June.  Watch for more information on how you might apply and the program requirements!

The IMHCA agenda for this year includes:

  • Passage of legislation prohibiting noncompete contracts or employment clauses for mental health professionals
  • Passage of legislation establishing Iowa’s entrance into the counseling compact
  • Increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for mental health codes

You can help us advance this agenda by participating in IMHCA’s Day on the Hill scheduled for February 21.  Don’t miss this opportunity to join others in the profession in promoting mental health services in Iowa.


Bills of Interest

HSB 8:  This bill prohibits non-compete clauses for any mental health professional as defined in 228.1, including mental health counselors.  The bill was approved by a subcommittee on January 12 and will be considered by the full House Health and Human Resources Committee next week.  It will be amended in committee to include mental health counselors who are completing their two-year supervisory requirement under temporary licensure.  IMHCA was instrumental in drafting this bill and getting it introduced and is registered in support of the bill.

HSB 9:  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.  IMHCA is currently evaluating this legislation.

SSB 1012:  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.  IMHCA is registered in support of the bill.

SSB 1024:  This bill clarifies 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.  IMHCA was successful in creating this program and is registered in support of this technical clarification.