Regional mental health system faces setback after spending bill veto

The mental health system in Southeast Iowa faces a setback after Gov. Branstad vetoes a $13 million spending bill.

That money was supposed to help counties provide services to people with mental illnesses and disabilities. Wapello County has been undergoing a transition from a county-based mental health delivery system to a regional system. Wapello, Appanoose and Davis counties make up one region that the state was supposed to fund until Thursday's veto.

"We in Wapello County had a very good system prior to the change in the state law," Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker said. "Everything that appears to have happened now is going to lesson our productivity; it's going to lesson the ability of Wapello County to take care of its clients. It's just a bad law."

Parker says now that mental health services won't be part of the state's budget, the money will have to come from a federal source eventually. The supervisors aren't sure when that money will come or how much funds they will have for the region.