Proposed Iowa bill could pave way for new mental health facilities

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BETTENDORF, Iowa — The same proposed bill in Iowa that would take away licensing requirements on certain professions could also make it easier for a new mental health hospital to build in Bettendorf.

Last year Strategic Behavioral Health tried to open a 72-bed mental health facility, but failed to receive state approval. The proposed bill would remove the 'certificate of need' requirement, which hospitals must currently apply for.

Genesis leaders, who fought against SGH, say this would result in a duplication of services.

"If you eliminate that process, it pretty much creates chaos in the market. You could put together a hospital group anywhere," said Craig Cooper, Genesis spokesperson.

Under the proposal, any facility that provides services to a person with a primary diagnosis of mental illness would be exempt from the certificate of need requirement.