Iowa Mental Health Institutes Closure Responses: Waiting and Waiting…and Waiting

TimeWell, I’ve been waiting for signatures on my petition for Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to consider alternatives to closing two of the state’s Mental Health Institutes (MHIs), Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda.

A couple of Iowa legislators I contacted seem to agree in principle with my suggestion. But there’s frankly not a lot of enthusiasm about attempts to intervene.

One of them simply said “I agree, James!” It made me feel good.

Another said fighting the closures would continue but also noted that “…the Governor is powerful and can make this happen even if we disapprove,” and that Branstad has had no official conversation with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics about adding more psychiatric beds, and didn’t consult with legislators or doctors about the closures. This lawmaker also pointed out that, while you could make a case for investing in a better system, movement toward that is not happening in Iowa.

This is about cutting costs.

I’ve contacted the Iowa Psychiatric Society and the Iowa Medical Society. The former will share my message with the Legislative Committee; they’ll be meeting with the legislators tomorrow and then update me on the feedback. The latter is putting this topic on their agenda and plan to get back to me in a couple of weeks.