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Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Mental Health and Disability Redesign

In 2012, Iowa Acts Chapter 1120 (Senate File2315) directed the redesign of the mental health and disability services system. The purpose of this redesign was to create a system where a set of core mental health and disability services are locally delivered, regionally administered, and meet statewide standards of care. The 14 Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) Regions became operational on July 1, 2014.

Additional information regarding the MHDS Regions can be found at:


2016 Mental Health and Disability Services Redesign Progress Report

Mental Health System Update presentation on August 12, 2015.


Complex Service Needs

2017 Iowa Acts Chapter 109 (SF504) established a stakeholder workgroup to make recommendations related to the delivery of, access to, and coordination and continuity of mental health, disability, and substance use disorder services for individuals with complex service needs. The Complex Service Needs Workgroup recommendations can be found at:

As a result of the workgroup’s recommendations, House File 2456 was signed into law on March 29, 2018. This legislation provides consistent access to an array of mental health and substance use disorder services and supports that address the most complex service needs. It requires MHDS Regions to establish, implement and maintain more cores services. These core services include access centers, assertive community treatment, a full array of mental health crisis response and sub-acute services, and intensive residential service homes.

House File 2456 also establishes workgroups to review the mental health and substance use disorder commitment processes and the role of tertiary care psychiatric hospitals.

Information regarding the Complex Service Needs Workgroup, Commitment Process Workgroup, and Tertiary Care Psychiatric Hospital Workgroup can be found at: