URBANDALE, Iowa (KCAU) – Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Tuesday that she will allocate $50 million from the CARES Act federal funding that Iowa received to be invested in the state’s mental health care system.
“[Tuesday’s] investment is not only about adapting to the challenges we face today, but sustaining a compassionate and coordinated system for the future. I also want to commend Flora Schmidt with the Iowa Behavioral Health Association and Andrew Allen, CEO of Youth and Shelter Services for making a difference in the lives of so many Iowans,” said Gov. Reynolds.
She said $30 million will be directed to the mental health regions to support ongoing adult and children’s mental health and disability services (MHDS).
The State will distribute the funds in an equal per capital amount to each MHDS region. It will be used to help cover the increased service needs due to the stressors and isolations that have resulted from the pandemic.
The governor’s office said with $98-99 million of property tax levy dollars going to MHDS regional services, the additional $30 million investment brings the overall system funding to nearly $130 million.
Gov. Reynolds mentions the state is also allocating $20 million to mental health and substance abuse providers to cover the increased costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said $10 million will go to mental health providers through Medicaid of non-hospital based inpatient and outpatient services.
The other $10 million goes to the substance use disorder providers through Medicaid of non-hospital based residential and outpatient services.
She adds that the money from the CARES Act fund is in addition to previous provider relief dollars that the federal government has provided for both Cherokee and Independence Mental Health Institutions, as well as hospitals and private practitioners.
The State of Iowa has received nearly $1 million from FEMA. The money was directed to the Iowa Department of Human Services to provide crisis counseling services to those who have been impacted by COVID-19.
“In Iowa, we take obstacles and we turn them into opportunities. We don’t want to just weather the storm of COVID-19. We want to help our system innovate and adapt to the challenges the future holds,” said Gov. Reynolds.
The governor said that the State of Iowa is making “meaningful” investments in the mental health services as a part of the state’s response to COVID-19 to help vulnerable Iowans and their families.
“Our mental health providers have really stepped up to the plate to deal with the increased demand and the need to accelerate plans for telehealth. Bringing critical mental health services online, literally online,” said Gov. Reynolds.
The governor mentions the investments are due in part to the change made by Medicaid that includes an additional $5 million investment in telehealth.
She held a news conference at the Iowa Behavioral Health Association in Urbandale, Iowa on Tuesday morning.
Gov. Reynolds was joined by Flora Schmidt, the Executive Director for the Iowa Behavorial Health Association, Andrew Allen, President & CEO of Youth and Shelter Services, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, and DHS Director Kelly Garcia.
You can watch the replay of the conference above or on the KCAU 9 News Facebook page.