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Have you heard about SF 2212?

Dear Friend of the Treatment Advocacy Center, I am writing to let you know that SF 2212 was introduced in the Iowa Senate last week by Senator Joe Bolkcom to enhance Iowa’s assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) law.  If this is something you have an interest in and would like to help pass the bill, we would be grateful for your assistance!  Because of the short window of opportunity, we need you to call or e-mail the Chairs of the Senate Human Resources Committee before the end of the day on Tuesday, Feb. 13th to urge their support for the bill.  Here is a link to the Committee chairs and their contact information:

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/committee?ga=87&groupID=328

I have attached a Frequently Asked Questions document and a one page overview for additional information.  If you are not familiar with AOT, it is a court-ordered, community-based intervention for individuals with serious mental illness (schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) who cannot, on their own, recognize their need for treatment.  As a result, they often find themselves caught in the revolving door of hospitalization and/or incarceration.

A person under an AOT order receives intensive services and supports in the community to help prevent further psychiatric deterioration. In the majority of cases, the person adheres to treatment because of what is referred to as the “black robe” effect. Because AOT is a civil court procedure, a person who does not comply with the court order would not go to jail but would experience other consequences including receiving treatment in a hospital.   For a small number of individuals living with untreated mental illness who cycle in and out of hospitals and/or jail, this non-punitive tool can mean the difference between life and death.  Additionally, it results in considerable cost savings.   In fact, there are over two decades of research demonstrating the effectiveness of AOT in reducing hospitalization, incarceration, emergency room utilization, victimization, suicide attempts and other bad outcomes.

Please let me know if you are interested in continuing to help advocate for AOT in Iowa.  Again, thank you for your support!  Betsy

Betsy Johnson

Treatment Advocacy Center

Policy and Legislative Advisor

(614) 519-3137

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