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Patients and Employees Fight to Keep Iowa Mental Health Institutes Open

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Patients and employees of the state's mental heath institutes will speak to members of the Senate Government Oversight Committee Wednesday afternoon, in hopes to keep the facilities open.

A former Mount Pleasant Mental Health nurse says long - term treatment at the facilities are crucial for the well -  being of patients.

"We don’t have the facilities in place on an outpatient basis, they are not set in place for us to put folks. Some folks will need to be in a home or facility where they actually have care," said Cindy Fedler.

Earlier this year Governor Branstad made the decision to close two of the state's mental health institutes. The Mount Pleasant and Clarinda locations began laying off employees at the beginning of April despite efforts to slow the closing process.

Branstad believes the facilities are outdated, inefficient in treating patients and often unable to retain the necessary psychiatrists.

However, some employees say that isn't true.

"There is so much that is not factual that is being presented like that we cannot attract doctors. We had several doctors who offered their services when we lost our doctor in October," said former Mt. Pleasant Mental Health drug counselor, Anna Short.

Members of the Senate Government Oversight Committee said they are putting a budget together to provide funds to keep the facilities open.

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