Iowa mental health care system continuing to weather tough times - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa mental health care system continuing to weather tough times


IOWA CITY (KWWL)-- Inara Souza of Iowa City has spent months searching to find a physician to help treat her son's anxiety condition.

"To find a perfect fit, like patient, family, and physician, is really a difficult process," she said.

Souza that fit at the Mid-Eastern Iowa Community Mental Health Center in Iowa City.

"What I liked here is that we have the same physician here every time and in certain areas of health, it's really important to establish a very good relationship," Souza said.

The health center has seen a 30 percent increase in request for its services.

The current challenge is figuring out how to provide for the increased need.

"Our mission is to serve anyone who walks in the door who has a mental health problem, the problem is no money, no mission," said Sherri Zastrow, Operations Director for the mental health center.

Many of the center's clients are in need of financial assistance themselves.

Factor in the state's 10 percent across the board cuts and a mid-year unexpected two and a half percent cut in medicaid reimbursements, and the clinic has been forced to re-evaluate the budget.

"I think we're accustomed to getting curveballs in our budgets frequently and deciding how we need to prioritize things and what we can do," said executive director Stephen Trefz.

County and community support has helped the non-profit program stay afloat, allowing the program to continue to provide for 25 hundred people like Souza and her son, each year.

Trefz says the mental health center will continue to find new ways to provide its services efficiently.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner


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