Under the Golden Dome
The legislative session started on January 10. The first order of business is the governor’s state of the state speech in which she outlined her priorities for the legislative session. While there was considerable focus on workforce development, it did not include the mental health workforce. However, we have bills in the works that will help grow the workforce. HSB 537 and SSB 3003 create a mental health provider loan repayment program. This is an initiative spearheaded by IMCHA and we are excited to see this move forward. Two things need to happen – 1) we need to create the policy mechanism and 2) we need to secure funding.
Your advocacy is important to help advance our agenda. Please save the date – IMCHA Day on the Hill is scheduled for March 7!
Bills of Interest
HSB 512: Clarifies that autism is a mental health condition. The bill is in the House Human Resources Committee. IMCHA is reviewing the legislation to determine its 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 is in the Senate Education Committees. IMCHA is registered in support.
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. IMCHA is reviewing the legislation to determine its position.