The legislature finally adjourned the session on May 25 at 12:15 p.m. We were called back to the session on Monday, 23 May, to finalize the agreed budget bills and adopt some existing legislation.
As I manage human resources, I will start from there.
This session focused on increasing the mental health workforce and access to beds for the most difficult patients to care for. Increasing access to mental health care is a huge priority for Iowans, and these bills will help more Iowans get the care they deserve.
HF 2578: HHS budget
Part of the policy passed by the House was not passed in the Senate, so some of these priorities were attached to the health and human services budget. This bill was signed by Governor Reynolds.
HF 2529 will provide funding for 12 new psychiatric residencies at Iowa University (UIHC) hospitals and clinics. Residences will give Iowans priority in the application process. Iowa ranks 44th in the country in the number of psychiatrists per capita. Four years after the start of these residencies, we will add 12 new psychiatrists to the workforce and another 12 each year.
HF 2549 Mental Health Loan
This bill establishes a loan repayment program for mental health physicians for Iowa residents who agree to practice in Iowa for at least five years.
This will attract more than the much-needed mental health professionals in our country to educate, train and stay in employment once they graduate.
HF 2546: This bill requires Iowa Medicaid to establish a tariff for intensive psychiatric treatment in Iowa. This will ensure that healthcare professionals caring for the most difficult mental health patients are adequately compensated.
HF 2245 will ensure that health insurers do not exclude mental health providers who provide telehealth to Iowa residents simply because they are not physically located in Iowa as long as they are licensed in Iowa.
HF 2578: Protection of Iowans Health Information
The HHS budget adds 488 HF, passed by the Chamber in 2021 to protect Iowans’ personal health information. This bill prohibits the state auditor from having access to the names and residences of patients who are reported, prohibits the collection of names by IDPH for hospital data.
It also prohibits civil servants from having access to personal health information about a reported disease if the employee does not have confidentiality training.
Health privacy is important and I do not believe that anyone should have access to your information unless they are trained to keep it confidential.
Mother’s Mothers Support Act
This section of the HHS budget requires DHS to create more options for the Maternal Support Program, the nationwide program to promote healthy pregnancies, and childbirth through nonprofits that provide pregnancy support services.
DHS will issue an RFP to select a program administrator who is a non-profit organization that has existed for at least three years and can manage subcontractors to provide pregnancy support services.
Subcontractors must also have at least one year of operational experience in providing pregnancy support services.
This program will:
• Providing personalized support to pregnant women to ensure family stabilization.
• Promoting better pregnancy outcomes through healthy behavior and prenatal nutrition.
• Improving the health and development of the child.
It allows contractors to provide:
• Food services.
• Assistance for accommodation, education and employment up to one year after birth.
• Adoption service.
• Help with babysitting.
• Baby items, including cribs, car seats, clothes, diapers and formula.
• Training for parents.
• Call center.
• Medical information and referrals for medical care.
State Representative Ann Mayer, R-Fort Dodge, represents Badger, Clare, Duncombe, Fort Dodge, Vincent and rural Webster County.