Iowa Senate approves mental health overhaul


March 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Senate has easily approved a proposed overhaul of Iowa’s mental health system. The measure approved Monday would put in place statewide standards for mental care. It also would create regional units to coordinate services, replacing a county-based system. Services would still be provided locally. The Senate approved the package on a 32-18 vote, sending it to the House. Des Moines Democratic Sen. Jack Hatch says the measure would cost $42 million in the first year. The measure approved Monday doesn’t include funding. Hatch says there would be more debate later in the session about how to pay for the new approach. The change was designed to ensure all Iowans get similar services, as residents of some counties now receive less than others.