The Health and Human Services budget passed last week in the House and appropriates $2 billion state money for a total of $6 billion state and federal monies to Medicaid, child care assistance, family assistance, child and family services, Cherokee and Independence MHI’s, Glenwood & Woodward Resource Centers, Dept. of Human Services (DHS), Dept. of Public Health (IDPH), Dept. on Aging, Dept. of Veteran Affairs, and the Iowa Veterans Home.
It also provides for the merger of DHS and IDPH into a new agency Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Health and Human Services budget prioritizes community-based services for Iowans with intellectual disabilities as well as mental health services.
• Provides a $14.6 million investment (including federal match it is $38 million) in home and community-based services rates. This allows for a $2 raise to all direct support professionals, and this bill requires this increase to go towards our front-line workers wages.
• Provides a $7.4 million state investment to reduce the waitlist on the intellectual disability services waiver. This appropriation should add an additional 250 ID waiver slots.
• Intermediate Care Facilities for those with intellectual disabilities receive a total increase of $8.2 million, and also require these funds to go directly to direct support professional wage increases.
• Provides a $4 million appropriation to create a new home health rate structure that provides an incentive for providing care to rural Medicaid members.
• The bill provides funding to increase access to mental health care by expanding the workforce and increasing beds for the most difficult to serve patients.
• It also completes the state’s transition of taking mental health funding off of property taxes, completely phasing out the mental health property tax levy and allocating an additional $71 million from the general fund for mental health regions.
• Provides $3 million of state funding, and a total funding increase of $7.9 million, to behavioral health intervention services. This is a 35% increase because there are currently lengthy waitlists for individuals to get services due to staffing shortages.
• Provides $2 million for psychiatric tiered rates so that hospitals are reimbursed based on the acuity of the patient and can receive the intensive psychiatric care that they need.
• Provides $1.1 million of state funding and almost $3 million of total funding (including federal) to increase residential substance use treatment rates.
• Requires insurers to cover mental health providers providing telehealth services no matter where they are located.
• Funding appropriated for 12 new psychiatric residencies at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics per year, with a focus on the residents receiving their training at the state MHI’s, resource centers, Eldora state training school, and Oakdale medical classification center (in-processing for state prison inmates).
• Funds an additional 50 employees to reduce caseloads for child abuse.
• Funding increases provided for shelter and residential treatment programs for children in foster care.
• Provides funding to remove the backlog with the state substitute decisionmaker.
• Increases funding for the state long term care ombudsman
Glenwood Resource Center to Close
Governor Reynolds has announced that the Glenwood Resource Center (GRC) will close in 2024. GRC is one of two state run resource centers in Iowa to serve Iowans with intellectual disabilities. GRC serves around 150 Iowans and has over 560 full time staff.
In 2019, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) began its investigation of Glenwood Resource Center, and DHS began immediately gathering information, notifying family members, staff, and legislators of the DOJ investigation and working to determine what immediate actions were necessary to ensure safety of the patients at GRC. DOJ has since determined that the state of Iowa over-relies on institutional settings, like Glenwood, for serving Iowans with disabilities.
The Governor has announced that over the next two years, GRC will continue to provide care to its residents while working with their guardians and families to transition them to community placements or the Woodward Resource Center. Existing staff at GRC will receive retention incentives to continue to work at GRC through this time.
This past week the House provided financial support in the HHS Budget to expand opportunities for community placements by providing significant increases to home and community-based services rates, increasing the number of slots by 250 to the intellectual disability waiver, and providing rate increases to Iowa’s ICF/ID facilities. We are dedicated to ensuring that Iowans being transitioned out of GRC over the next two years have a new home that provides all the supports they need.
Bills Passed by House
Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund Budget: This appropriates $174 million to maintenance of state buildings and other infrastructure, state park infrastructure, trails, CAT grants, Great Places program, county and state fair buildings, public transit and aircraft buildings, technology upgrades and other projects and infrastructure.
Mobile Home Bill: This is in response to complaints of investor companies from out-of-state coming into Iowa and buying up mobile home parks and then steeply raising rents. More needs to be done but here are some of the bill’s provisions: 1) Landlords must provide 90 days’ notice prior to a rent increase (current is 60 days). 2) Tenants shall be notified of any increase in utility rates in writing 60 days ahead. 3) If a landlord deliberately or negligently fails to supply essential services, the tenant may give written notice specifying the breach and either procure the essential services, recover damages or recover any rent paid. 4) Protection for tenants against retaliation from landlords. 5) A rental agreement shall not allow a landlord to modify a mobile home in a way that would substantially impair the ability of the home to be moved. 6) If a mobile home park is sold, the buyer has the same legal obligations the landlord had, including all rental agreements.
Crisis Intervention Reports: When law enforcement responds to a crisis situation, if no crime has been committed, the reports submitted are confidential. Also allows medical personnel to impose a 12-hour hold on a person experiencing a mental or substance related disorder crisis.
Adoption of Research Animals: Require facilities that conduct research on dogs or cats to adopt them out when they are ready to be retired
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