Centerville Community Mental Health Center to Close Due to Lack of Funding

The head of a mental health crisis center in southern Iowa says she expects it to close at the end of the month due to a lack of funding.

Jackie Sharp is executive director of Oak Place in Centerville. She says after a grant ran out, the regional mental health authority refused to fill that funding gap, and the state hasn’t set up rules that would allow Oak Place to bill Medicaid for services. 

"I don't put a lot of faith in us continuing after October 31. I think my alternate plan is to take care of the graduates that we've had and help my staff transition," she says. 

Sharp says she fears the ten other crisis stabilization centers in Iowa will find themselves in a similar situation before the state allows them to receive money through Medicaid. 

During the first half of this hour of River to River, Sharp talks with host Ben Kieffer about the center's model for treating patients and about the success they've had. Tommy Merchant, a graduate of the program, and Gregg Robinson, program manager for Oak Place, also join the conversation. 

Then in the second half of the show, Kieffer talks with longtime University of Iowa space scientist, Don Gurnett. Sixty years after the launch of Sputnik 1, Gurnett considers the legacy of the launch and gives a first-hand account of the beginning of the Space Race. They also discuss the impact of Sputnik on other projects he worked on, including the Voyager 1 and Cassini missions.