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Iowa county can’t pay for mental health services

Published: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 11:16 a.m. CDT

PRIMGHAR — A northwest Iowa county says it’s run out of money to help scores of residents with their psychiatric medication and counseling.

O’Brien County leaders say they’re tapped out because Iowa is shifting to a new system and because the governor vetoed $13 million that legislators approved to help counties make the transition.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Thomas Farnsworth told The Des Moines Register that under the old state system, counties financed much of the care for their residents, even if those people moved to other counties. That arrangement ended July 1, and counties now are responsible for the costs for everyone living within their borders.

Farnsworth says O’Brien County has solid residential facilities for the mentally ill that have attracted several people from outside the county.

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