Closing Mental Health Facility in Southeast Iowa creates fears

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The prospect of closing two of the state’s four mental health institutes is terrifying according to a mental health professional from Cedar Rapids who testified before lawmakers in Des Moines.

Kent Jackson the administrative director for St. Luke’s Unity Point says it’s a fear of the unknown.  He says he has been unable to see a plan and that’s part of the problem.  This after he and Dr. Al Whitters Medical Director of Mercy Medical Center’s Behavioral Services talked to the Senate Human Resources Committee for more than an hour.  He says this is a huge problem because there is not a plan or if there is one, it’s not widely known.

Closing the Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda mental health institutes is under discussion because Gov. Branstad’s budget does not include money for their operation beyond July 1st.

Overall Jackson says it’s hard to quantify the impact closing the mental health institutes will have on community hospitals.