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Clinics Replace ER for Treating Mental Illness

Elizabeth Cosgrove, left, helps Yolanda Solar, 73, who suffers from depression, organize her medications during a home visit on Nov. 3 in San Antonio. Cosgrove is a community outreach worker at a transitional care clinic run by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. (Bahram Mark Sobhani for KHN)

Yolanda Solar’s story shows the progress that people with mental illness can make when they receive prompt and comprehensive care. She has not returned to the emergency room since beginning treatment in August. Hospital staff scheduled her appointment at the transitional care clinic through a web-based computer system before she left the hospital. Like most patients, Solar was seen within a few days.

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Iowa Still Needs Certificate of Need

In all parts of the state, Iowans depend on their community hospitals being there all day, every day. That level of access and preparedness is jeopardized by those who would significantly change or repeal Certificate of Need.

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Paramedics: A Key Link for Mental Health Care

For Paramedic Kelly Kjelstrom, plugging gaps in the mental health care system can mean something as simple as a late-night taco and a friendly chat. Part of his job is to help psychiatric patients in need of care avoid winding up in the emergency room, where they can get “boarded” for days, until they are released or a bed frees up at an inpatient facility.

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In Centerville, a Mental Health Success Story

As a “stabilization home,” Oak Place not only provides therapy, but also helps identify and meet immediate needs for local residents in crisis, including shelter, food and clothing. Most importantly, working with on-call licensed therapists, the local emergency room or jail can request a mental health screening at any time, ensuring that patients have their needs identified in a timely fashion and then met in an appropriate care setting.

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Click here to read Today's NewsStand post with article excerpts: Today’s NewsStand – February 17, 2017

The Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government, and consumer audiences. It shapes health policy, fosters new forms of health care delivery, gathers data and monitors health care payment systems.