Recommendations for Iowa's Mental Health Institutes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Recommendations for Iowa's Mental Health Institutes

by Danielle Wagner

INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) Back in September, a task force visited the Mental Health Institute in Independence. The task force was created by the governor to gather information about Iowa's MHIs.

After visiting all four, the task force recommended not closing any facility at this time. Task force chair Ro Foege said Iowa's MHIs are essential. He isn't in favor of closing any facility right now, but also thinks the state needs other options.

"I would choose to have a larger number of small facilities dispersed throughout the state more than four so people could be treated closer to home," said Ro Foege.

Monday, the Department of Human Services Director recommended closing the Mount Pleasant facility and moving all services to Independence.

While initially good news for Independence, Superintendent Dr. Bhasker Dave said it's still a long process before a final decision is made.

"Staff is fully aware this is just a recommendation, and we do not know how final decisions will be made," said Dr. Dave.

Per the legislature, a facility will only close if no beds will be lost.

Dr. Dave said he's glad the director of DHS has confidence in his staff to take the extra patients *if Mount Pleasant closes.

"The services we provide are unique. If these patients referred to us, if we didn't exist, these patients would not be receiving services. We are the provider of the last resort," said Dr. Dave.

The recommendations now go to the Iowa Legislature.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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