KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Iowa Legislature Approves State Mental Health System Revamp

The Iowa plan had been held up by funding concerns. In other news on mental health issues, North Carolina is also weighing major changes in its system.

Des Moines Register: Mental Health Compromise OK'd
The Iowa House and Senate finally found compromise Wednesday on a plan to remake the state's mental health care delivery system. Lawmakers had been in agreement on the policy provisions of the redesign for weeks, but Senate Democrats and House Republicans repeatedly clashed on how to fund the transition from the current system to the new one. A joint committee of House and Senate lawmakers resolved their differences and approved a final plan Wednesday morning, leading to final votes in both chambers in the afternoon. The Senate passed the redesign package on a 30-16 vote, followed by the House on a 66-31 vote (Noble, 5/9).

The Texas Tribune: Officials Testify About Gaps In Mental Health Services
State health officials delivered a sobering assessment of mental health treatment in Texas, telling a Senate committee Wednesday that waiting lists for services have increased by 642 percent since September 2004 and that there is a severe shortage of psychiatrists and mental health workers available to treat patients (Tan, 5/9).

North Carolina Health News: Everybody Is Watching As NC Transforms Mental Health System
Without a doubt, North Carolina is taking a gamble in transforming all of the state's mental health local management entities into managed care organizations. If the effort succeeds, North Carolina stands to become a national leader in solving the problem of Medicaid financing for mental health services. If the effort fails, it could cost billions to fix it (Hoban and Wilson, 5/10). 

Minnesota Public Radio: State Investigating Security Hospital's Handling Of Missing Patient, Stabbing
State human services officials are investigating the Minnesota Security Hospital's handling of two incidents Tuesday in which one patient was missing for nearly 22 hours and another patient was arrested after allegedly stabbing his mother at a nearby park. ... [Anne Barry, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services] said the department may decide to bring in other agencies and state experts to determine whether either incident at the state-run facility was preventable (Baran, 5/9). 

California Healthline: Laura's Law Advocate Objects To Plan
The Assembly Committee on Health on Tuesday approved a proposal designed to change the way some counties handle people who are having a mental health crisis.  "Consumers, mental health professionals, law enforcement and others are working side-by-side developing ways to de-escalate crisis situations, while reaching out to consumers and providing much-needed mental health services," said Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) (Gorn, 5/10).

The Lund Report (an Oregon news service): FolkTime Looks To Expand Peer Support Services for Veterans
FolkTime, a 26-year-old nonprofit providing community socialization for people with mental illness, has just signed a contract with Clackamas Behavioral Health to start providing peer support services – including job coaching, arts activities and support groups – to veterans with mental health challenges (McCurdy, 5/9).

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