April 24, 2024

The Fry Times: Mental Health Legislation Advances Through the Legislature

March 7, 2024 - This session, the legislature has advanced 7 bills to address mental health care in Iowa. These bills build on the work the legislature has done over the last 6 years to expand access to mental health care, increase workforce, increase Medicaid rates, create sustainable long-term funding of the mental health regions, and provide an emphasis on children’s mental health care.

The below list includes the status of each bill as of March 6th.

  • Children’s Mental Health – House File 2402 provides for an enhanced rate for psychiatric medical institutions for children that care for children with specialized needs and makes regulatory changes to PMICs based on feedback from providers. This bill passed the Iowa House and has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
  • Access Center Transportation – House File 2397 requires DHHS to authorize payments to ambulances transporting mental health patients in crisis to an access center at a similar amount to when transporting to an ER. This bill passed the Iowa House and has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
  • Social Work Compact – House File 2512 establishes an interstate license for social workers after 7 states have joined the compact. Two states currently have enacted this compact (Missouri and South Dakota). 26 states have pending legislation. The compact is effective upon 7 states joining. This bill passed the Iowa House and has been assigned to the Senate State Government Committee.
  • Direct Supervision and Licensure by Endorsement – House File 2515 creates licensure by endorsement for licensed marital and family therapists and licensed mental health counselors. This bill also prohibits live and recorded direct observation of client interaction for LMFTs, LMHCs, and Social Workers. This bill passed the Iowa House and has been assigned to the Senate State Government Committee.
  • Behavioral Health System – House File 2509 comes from the Governor to transition the current county run mental health and disability services regional system to a state behavioral health service system with state contracted administrative service organizations governed by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. This bill is in the House Appropriations Committee.

    The behavioral health service system has the purpose of prevention, education, early intervention, treatment, recovery support, and crisis services for mental health, substance use, tobacco use, and problem gambling.

    DHHS will divide the state into behavioral health districts with ASOs to oversee each district and its behavioral health services. ASOs will be selected through RFP. Each district will have a district behavioral health advisory council.

    The bill directs the funds from the federal community health mental health services block grant and the federal substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant to DHHS.

    Creates a central data repository for behavioral health data with demographic information, expenditure data, and services and supports provided to individuals.

    Establishes a behavioral health fund, with similar funding to the existing annual increases based on a state growth factor. The bill prohibits an ASO from spending more than 7% on administrative costs.

    This bill requires DHHS to designate aging and disability resource centers to establish a coordinated system of providing assistance to persons with disabilities and the elderly.

    Timeline:

    September 30, 2024 – DHHS must post transition plan online and update quarterly

    April 1, 2025 – DHHS will designate the districts and their ASOs

    July 1, 2025 – the behavioral health system and ADRCs are implemented
  • Social Media for Minors – House File 2523 requires parental consent for minors to access social media. There are many studies that show increased depression in youth using social media. This bill has passed the Iowa House and awaits assignment of a Senate Committee.
  • Therapeutic Classrooms – House File 2631 allows the Iowa Department of Education to retain and repurpose unspent therapeutic classroom transportation funds to support additional therapeutic classroom grants. The bill passed the Iowa House and has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • Clinical Privileges – House File 2210 prohibits questions regarding past mental illness or substance use disorders for clinical privileges or licensure applications for health professions. This bill passed the Iowa House and has been assigned to Senate State Government Committee.
  • Voluntarily Holding Firearms – House File 2421 allows a person to voluntarily handover their firearm to a FFL dealer for safekeeping. This allows gunowners who are in mental health distress to give their property over while in crisis and have it returned when they are prepared. This bill passed the Iowa House and has been assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Clinical Privileges – House File 2210 prohibits questions regarding past mental illness or substance use disorders for clinical privileges or licensure applications for health professions. This bill passed the Iowa House and has been assigned to Senate State Government Committee.

Forum Schedule

Senator Sinclair and Representative Fry will be hosting Legislative Forums in the District during the 2024 Legislative Session.

March 22, 2024

8:00 am - Corydon, IA at the Wayne County Farm Bureau

10:00 am - Chariton, IA at the Lucas County Farm Bureau

12:00 pm - Osceola, IA at Revelton Distilling Company

2:00 pm - Leon, IA at the Leon Community Center

We look forward to meeting with everyone.

Rep. Joel Fry

House District 27

joel.fry@legis.iowa.gov

515.281.3221