Mercy to end outpatient mental health services

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Thousands of central Iowans who receive mental health treatment from the Mercy health system will soon have to seek care elsewhere after hospital officials announced plans to discontinue many outpatient mental health care services.

The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1l2Sxrh ) that Mercy leaders announced the plan, which will affect about 8,000 adult patients, on Friday. The change is set to take effect Aug. 29.

Sharon Phillips, chief operating officer of Mercy Clinics, blames moves by three of the system's five psychiatrists to go into private practice, retire or work for the state prison system. She says the company is unable to quickly replace those doctors, and it doesn't want to water down the quality of services to patients.

Administrators say they will help affected patients find other options.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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