May 18, 2024

The Fry Times

Mental health legislation moves forward

The Iowa Legislature continues to prioritize expanding access to mental health care in every corner of the state by passing bills to recruit and retain mental health providers to every corner of Iowa. Below is a list of bills that help access to mental health care and where they are at in the process:

  • Medical Malpractice – House File 161 limits the total amount of noneconomic damages for a medical malpractice claim at $2 million for causes of action involving a hospital, and at $1 million for all other causes of action. This bill was signed by the Governor on February 17.
  • Rural Emergency Hospitals – Senate File 75 establishes licensure in Iowa for Rural Emergency Hospitals. Federal law created this designation in 2020, and has allowed this new hospital designation to begin January 1, 2023. This bill also requires ambulatory surgical centers to be licensed in Iowa. This bill has passed both chambers.
  • Mental Health Non-Competes – House File 93 prohibits noncompete agreements with mental health providers, allowing the provider to stay with their patient. This bill awaits consideration in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
  • Psychologist Prescribing – House File 183 removes the requirement that a psychologist complete certain requirements within 5 years of being issued a conditional prescription certificate. This bill also changes that the physician supervising does not need to be board-certified in specific specialties. This bill awaits consideration on the Senate floor.
  • Psychiatrist Public Fellowship – House File 274 revises the state-funded psychiatry residency program that was established last session, to include two fellowship positions. The program will annually graduate 9 psychiatry residents and 2 psychiatry fellows. This bill awaits consideration on the Senate floor.
  • Physician Assistants – House File 424 repeals requirements that physician assistants practice under the supervision of a physician, and instead requires collaboration. This bill awaits consideration on the Senate floor.
  • Commitment Hearings – House File 466 allows health care providers who have examined a patient involved in a substance abuse or mental health commitment to testify by video. Current law only allows for telephone testimony. This bill awaits consideration in the Senate HHS Committee.
  • Mental Health and Disability Services – House File 471 comes from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services to specialize the Independence Mental Health Institute to behaviorally complex youth and the Cherokee MHI to acute and forensic adults, makes changes to the Regional MHDS Governing Board makeup, and adds competency-based restoration to the core service domains of the MHDS Regions. This bill awaits consideration on the Senate floor.
  • Substance Abuse – House File 621 requires DHHS establish a rate structure for Medicaid reimbursement for substance use disorder residential and intensive outpatient treatment services. This bill awaits a subcommittee being scheduled in the Senate.
  • Mental Health Loan Forgiveness – House File 151 expands the current program to include prescribing mental health providers. This bill is being considered in the House Appropriations Committee.