The head of a mental health crisis center in southern Iowa expects it to close at the end of the month due to a lack of funding.
Jackie Sharp, executive director of Oak Place in Centerville, says after a grant ran out, the regional mental health authority has refused to fill the funding gap. And state officials haven’t set up rules that would let Oak Place bill Medicaid for services to patients.
“I don’t put a lot of faith in us continuing after October 31st,” Sharp says. “I think my alternate plan is to take care of the graduates that we’ve had and help my staff transition.”
The center opened three years ago and has won praise for providing economical care in rural Iowa, where mental health treatment options are scarce.
“Without funding, we’re closed,” Sharp says. “And I have a fear for the other 10 crisis stabilization homes in the state, that they will follow our lead and close due to lack of funding.”
Sharp made her comments on Iowa Public Radio’s “River to River” program.
The Centerville facility serves patients from Appanoose County and three other neighboring counties. Advocates say once the center closes, the state will pay about $900-per-day for psychiatric hospital stays for a Medicaid patient who’d get significantly less expensive care, closer to home, in Centerville.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Katarina Sostaric; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)