- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed the closure of two of the state’s four mental health institutions, a state official said Wednesday.

In his proposed budget released this week, Branstad cut funding to continue service at the Clarinda and Mount Pleasant facilities, said Amy Lorentzen McCoy, an Iowa Department of Human Services spokeswoman. Money allocated to the facilities will end July 1, effectively shutting the centers down.

The institutions have experienced a population decline for decades, with only 24 residents currently at Clarinda facility and 47 in Mount Pleasant, the Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/154hbae ). Iowa is spending nearly $7 million to run the Mount Pleasant institution, and $8.7 million on the Clarinda location.

McCoy said a 2009 task force previously recommended closure under Gov. Chet Culver, but the proposal was dropped when local and union officials protested. Branstad also discussed consolidating mental health services last month, citing expenses and efficiency as his main concerns, but said there were no immediate plans to do so.

State Rep. Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant, said administration officials have informed him that the two sites are no longer accepting new patients and won’t be filling open jobs.

Mental health facilities in Cherokee and Independence will remain open and take on the closing institutions’ services.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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