WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Emphasis – March 23

Mar 23, 2012

Jason Parrott’s guest is Ryanne Wood, who is Lee County’s CPC Administrator.  They talk about mental health care reform and what is being proposed in Des Moines by the Iowa Legislature.

Lawmakers are running out of time during the spring session and there is still plenty of work to do in the area of services for those with mental health or other developmental disabilities.

Some of the more common services include one-on-one sessions, drop-in centers or sheltred workshops.

Wood says the current plan calls for people in her position to be eliminated in July 2013 and for state funding to run out on July 1, 2012.

She says the funding issue is the most immediate need.  The budget for next year could drop from $6-million to $2.5-million because of the lack of state funding.

Wood says that has led Lee County to put the renewal of service contracts on hold because it wants to see what money is finally available.  She says the goal is to maintain services and renew contracts with local providers.

Wood believes lawmakers are talking funding for the upcoming fiscal year, though their focus is on the restructuring of mental health care.

She says there are pros and cons to the new system.  That is why it is important for clients and their families to reach out to lawmakers to express their support for good programs and opposition to unpopular ideas.

Wood believes some sort of decision will be reached by the Iowa Legislature before the end of the 2012 Spring Session.