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Local Lawmaker Drafts Legislation to Cut Expenses for Mental Health Services

Posted: Thursday, February 4th, 2010 at 6:27 am

Discussion over how to reduce spending on the state’s mental health services continues among state lawmakers, and one area lawmaker believes he has a good place to start that doesn’t include closing down any of the state’s institutions.

“I have had a piece of legislation drafted that would greatly reduce the time and manpower when we have to hold these hearings involving people that have to be committed or have to seek mental health services,” said State Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven. “It’s a start, I think, in the right place. We’ll have to see exactly how it’s accepted, but I think it’s something we need to talk about.”

Van Engelenhoven, who is from Pella, is proposing the use of technology – including videoconferencing – as one way to save both time and money for those involved in hearings for patients who require mental health services. Jim Van Engelenhoven is a Republican and represents District 71 in the Iowa House, which includes the majority of Marion County and the Monroe area.