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Abbe Center to Close

MARION, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- It's not a countdown that Dan Strellner with the Abbe Center for Community Health is looking forward to.

"A 60 day time period is all we really have to work with," Strellner said.
Strellner says the 2 decade old facility in Marion is finally succumbing to budget cuts.

"We've been providing residential treatment services since 1987 to adults with mental health issues, so it's always concerning and disappointing when their lives are disrupted."
He says the counties, who fund mental health services here in Iowa, simply don't have the money.
"Approximately 1.4 million dollars or about 60 percent less funding this fiscal year then previous fiscal year," Strellner said.
His disappointment is shared by Senator Rob Hogg.
"We need more beds, not fewer beds, so this is a step in the wrong direction," Hogg said.
Hogg says earlier this year, state lawmakers proposed 13 million dollar safety net for facilities like the Abbe Center. The funding bill was vetoed by Governor Terry Branstad.
"Without that veto, the counties may have been able to say 'yeah, we'll provide the services they need to keep the center open...and then apply to the state to make sure they cover those costs'" Hogg said.
Strellner says the veto wasn't the only reason for Abbe's demise, but it may have made a difference.
"Those funds out of the risk pool could have been used to help residential facilities like ours downsize and implement a different treatment model," Strellner said.
With that option off the table, attention now turns towards the patients, who will have to find a new home.
"Some folks may move to the community, in homes....we have some people targeted to move anyway," Strellner said. "Others may have to be transferred to other facilities and other institutions."

Strellner says they are working to make sure the centers 80 employees aren't out of a job for too long, as they help them find opportunities with other companies.

He also says with the state switching from a county based approach to a regional based approach on mental health services, the future of the service is cloudy.
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