The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


December 11, 2012

Mental health legislation will create difficulty for local patients

CLINTON — I have a grave concern about the future of our mental health system in Iowa.

First of all I would like to commend the people who have set the goal of giving all citizens across Iowa, regardless of locale, equal accessibility to mental health services.

As with all goals it must be attainable and realistic. And it cannot be done by denying services for some while giving more services to others. I do not believe that the legislators or the Iowa Department of Human Services are intentionally trying to put mental health agencies or collateral agencies out of business.

However that is what may happen unless this law is revisited by our legislators.

Having worked as a therapist at Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center in Clinton for over 5 years I have seen many people helped by services through Bridgeview or agencies associated with Bridgeview.

Last year Bridgeview served over 4,000 unique clients in different capacities of service. These services included individual therapy at Bridgeview as well as school-based individual therapy, co-occurring group treatment, borderline group therapy, anger management, community support services, domestic violence counseling, couple’s coaching and couple’s counseling, family therapy, play therapy, psychiatric services, medication intervention and management, psychological evaluations, education, teenscreen, love and logic parenting classes, consults, emergencies and others. Many of these clients received multiple services.

Since Oct. 1 Bridgeview has lost two very valuable employees because of the budget cuts that are a direct result of the Mental Health Reform law passed by our state legislators.

These people served clients in multiple ways including education, parenting classes, domestic violence counseling, anger management, couple’s coaching and public relations.

Other areas at risk of ceasing since the passage of the bill include client assistance obtaining free or reduced medication, assistance with paperwork to obtain disability, 24-hour emergency service and the extended services that the nurse practitioners provide on a daily basis to clients.

Clinton County has been proactive in providing funding for mental health services. Since the Mental Health Reform Bill was passed earlier this year the $465,000 block grant that helped provide mental health services to programs and individuals with little or no insurance was terminated as of Oct. 1.

This money was cut because Clinton County had to reduce the funding for mental health by about $586,000 annually due to the proponents of the bill’s insistence that counties may only levy $47.28 (Clinton County has been assessing $58.38) for mental health. Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center cannot afford to continue to lose money at this rate and stay viable let alone provide the services that are vital to our residents. This cut has also affected Pathway Living Center, County Case Management, the Women’s Shelter, Domestic Violence Prevention Services and other agencies whose budgets are partially funded by county monies.

I am unsure how this will affect agencies in other counties.

I do know however that citizens in Clinton County will be affected in a huge way. Services that have been offered in the past will not be available.

People may have to travel across one, two or more counties to receive services that were provided in their home county prior to the passing of the bill. This is a problem for several reasons: first, transportation prices continue to skyrocket; second, many of the people we serve have no means of transportation outside Clinton; third, the amount of school time missed by students who can no longer receive services in their county of origin may be increased appreciably; fourth, there may be an appreciable increase in work time lost because clients will have to travel farther for mental health services.

I am imploring the citizens of Clinton County and other counties in our region (Scott, Jackson, Cedar and Muscatine) to contact their legislators asking them to carefully consider all the ramifications of the Mental Health Reform bill as it has been proposed.

David Sievers,

Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center

Text Only
  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • 7-21-14 David Helscher mug Prepare for possible effects of Fed's decisions It has been more than 5 years since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy through purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt securities. This has generally been called quantitative easing and has not been withou

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • What it was like as a teen

    Ten years ago today, I’d like to think I was checking out educational books to prepare myself for my upcoming journey through college.

    In reality, I was probably playing video games and thinking of ways to have fun, while trying not to get into too much trouble.

    July 20, 2014

  • Randy Meier Spoofing practices resurface Spoofing is the practice deliberately falsifying a telephone number and/or name relayed to the caller ID feature of a phone. This type of call right now is the number one phone scam I receive. Many people report receiving calls appearing on caller ID

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Impeaching the president Sarah Palin is right about impeaching President Obama.No, not that the president should be impeached. But Palin is correct in arguing that, for those who assert that Obama has grievously abused his executive authority, impeachment is the proper cours

    July 18, 2014

  • Celebrate the renovated bandshell? Yes, but... I attended the ribbon cutting for the renovated bandshell on July 1. I was a proud member of the Vision 8 team that enabled the project. However, the previous Friday night, June 27, I was also a member of the cast of “Annie Get Your Gun.”When the Nat

    July 18, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season

    Little news is truly made at the Southeastern Conference's media days, where players and coaches predict, insinuate and deflect in advance of this fall's college football season.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo


With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

     View Results