The children’s system, however, would be overseen by a separate state board and the law requires the regions to offer certain core services.
Reynolds has said she hopes to keep counties’ role in funding mental health services, but what that may look like exactly is unclear, as “there’s a whole host of things we’re looking at on what that would look like.”
The passing of the children’s mental health system was another example of state officials providing an expectation of the regions without any additional funding, said one region CEO.
“The Children’s Behavioral Health system coming in last year with that mandate is the last in a line of services that the legislators have expected regions to provide without making any adjustments to the funding formulas that have been established for years,” said Mae Hingtgen, chief executive officer of the Mental Health and Disability Services of the East Central Region.
Last year, the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency estimated the establishment of a children’s mental health system would cost Iowans nearly $3.7 million in fiscal 2020 and more than $6.3 million the following year.
Medicaid would cover $423,110 in year one and $1.3 million in year two, with Iowa’s 14 Mental Health and Disability Services regions — which are partly supported by property taxes — covering the remainder.