Medical Professionals Call For Mental Health System Overhaul

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DES MOINES, Iowa- Three healthcare organizations held a news conference Wednesday to call for passage of mental health legislation. On Tuesday the house passed HF-2456 which would put adopt recommendations made by a group studying this issue. The vote was 98-0, the bill was sent on to the Senate.

“It’s quite extraordinary for a significant policy bill to pass unanimously out of a chamber,” said Peggy Huppert, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill , Iowa Executive Director. “The Governor has voiced her strong support for this bill, it enacts into law the recommendations of the complex needs work group.”

Also the group has collected close to 5,000 signatures calling for this type of change.

This legislation is also supported by law enforcement.

“The mental health system right now, when we deal with somebody with a mental health issue, that person ends up in our jail, where they don’t get the treatment they need,” said Jason Sandholdt, Sheriff of Marion County. “We’ll often sit for hours or days in local emergency rooms.”

“Iowa’s behavioral health system is broken,” said Dr. Joyce Vista-Wayne. “As a physician I fight every day to ensure my patients receive the highest quality care possible, as a psychiatrist, I fight to navigate a fragmented system that fails to connect Iowans in need of mental health.”