State closing unit at Independence mental health facility

The state Mental Health Institute in Independence, Iowa on Friday, June 3, 2016. (Calyn...
The state Mental Health Institute in Independence, Iowa on Friday, June 3, 2016. (Calyn Thompson/KCRG-TV9)(KCRG)
Published: Jun. 3, 2016 at 12:02 PM CDT
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The Iowa Department of Human Services plans to close a 15-bed unit at the Independence Mental Health Institute, which will affect up to 10 positions at the facility.

The department on Thursday notified the 10 staff members at the 15-bed Psychiatric Medical Institution for Children Unit. A spokesperson for DHS, Amy McCoy, said some staff members may transfer to other positions at the Independence MHI, to other state-operated facilities, or to other state jobs. Independence MHI has more than 200 employees.

"We understand that this is a difficult time for our staff that provided quality care to PMIC patients, and we thank them for their dedicated service," McCoy said.

She said the closure will not affect acute psychiatric services for adults, children, or adolescents. The PMIC currently has no patients. The unit has seen a 50 percent reduction in patients over the past 5 years.

McCoy said the closure is due to a lack of state funding for the PMIC unit in the 2017 fiscal year. She said the average cost to treat a child at Independence was nearly 5 times that of a private psychiatric medical institution.

Closing the unit will save the state about $820,000 in the coming fiscal year, McCoy said.

Gov. Terry Branstad announced in January 2015 he wanted to close state-run mental health institutions in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. Both facilities closed on June 30, 2015.