The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services says closing the Mental Health Institute in Clarinda may be more complicated than lawmakers realize. 

The legislature is debating whether to close the Clarinda facility as a part of a government reorganization plan.  D.H.S. director Charlie Krogmeier says it’ll be difficult to find a new home for the 35 geriatric patients who live in Clarinda’s Mental Health Institute today. 

“A lot of them tend to be violent. Most of them have been in three, four, five or more nursing homes or other settings and they are difficult to place,” Krogmeier says, “so finding the right kind of physical facility or remodeling something, as well as the staffing and other issues that you have becomes more complicated.” 

Krogmeier made his comments today on Iowa Public Radio. 

Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines, has suggested the 35 patients from Clarinda’s Mental Health Institute to the Veterans Home in Marshalltown or the Glenwood Resource Center for the disabled.  But according to Krogmeier, the state would have to get a waiver from the federal government to send those patients from Clarinda to Marshalltown.  Shifting those patients to Glenwood instead would require “extensive remodeling” of that facility. 

The topic of closing the Clarinda Mental Health Institute is scheduled to come up later this evening (Monday) in the Iowa Senate as legislators debate a state government reorganization bill.