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House considers money for mental health transition

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — House lawmakers will vote on a bill to give some counties a share of $11.6 million so they continue treatment of mental health patients as the state transitions to a regional system.

The bill set for debate Wednesday evening would give money to 20 of the 32 counties that sought extra help to get them through this fiscal year.

The Department of Human Services selected 20 counties whose budgets were hurting the most. Polk County, the state's largest, and 11 others wouldn't get funding because officials say they can manage without help.

Democratic Rep. Lisa Heddens, of Ames, says she'll seek $20 million, which would cover all counties seeking funding.

With the lower figure, Polk County mental health administrator Lynn Ferrell says 950 people in the county could lose treatment.

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