Iowa Children Stuck on Mental Health Waiting List

Apr 7, 2014

Children with serious mental health issues are waiting as long as two years to receive services in their communities.  Host Clay Masters talks with Tammy from Iowa City whose son has been diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  She says services like respite care are essential for families exhausted from caring for a suicidal or angry child.  But such services aren't covered by insurance.  A children's mental health waiver is designed to cover the gap between what insurance covers and what services are needed, but the wait is long, and sometimes children must be institutionalized while waiting for the care they need.  Representative Dave Heaton and Senator Jack Hatch are Chairs of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittees in their chambers, and are in the process of approving funding to help reduce wait times.  Similar funding was approved last year, but vetoed by Governor Terry Branstad.