The Iowa House of Representatives passed a bipartisan measure last week aimed at improving mental health access in the state. Representative Guy Vander Linden said legislators realize the need to increase access to care for individuals dealing with mental illness. According to Vander Linden, the bill increases access to mental health services and creates new services for urban and rural communities in Iowa by removing the statewide bed cap and adding new services to the core list required by Iowa’s 14 Mental Health and Disability Service Regions. The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency estimates that Medicaid members will make up 80% of the clients using the preventative services, and the bill ensures funding for mental health and substance abuse services as Medicaid-covered services.
The Mayor of New Sharon is making a bid for the Iowa House – Attorney Dustin Hite announced last month he will be seeking election to the Iowa House in District 79 which includes the western half of Mahaska County and portions of Marion County. He is seeking the seat currently held by Guy Vander Linden, who announced recently he was not seeking re-election. Hite grew up in rural Mahaska County outside of New Sharon and graduated from North Mahaska High School. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in history, economics and social science from Central College in Pella and then graduated from law school at the University of Iowa. Hite is a partner at the Heslinga, Dixon & Hite Law Firm where he has a general practice. He has served as mayor of New Sharon since 2012 and is the city attorney for several local small towns.