MENTAL HEALTH: Preparing For Regional System

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Big changes are underway for the state’s mental health care system. Services are switching from a county-based system to a more broad regional system.

United Way hosted a special forum on the change in Eastern Iowa where care providers, lawmakers and families could learn more.

The changes mean a new way of thinking for spending and services concerning mental health. It can be a complicated maze for families that depend on services.

For patients and the state, it’s a case of paying now or paying even more later. “If we can get people into the system earlier, then the long term cost of these services will be reduced dramatically.” Parent Rich Landis said.

Iowa lawmakers want to provide $20 million to ease the transition for counties.

The regional system is supposed to take effect in 2014.

Thanks to our sister station WQAD for this story.