November 14, 2022

(Washington, D.C. Nov. 14, 2022) The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), a bipartisan, nonprofit, professional organization that represents leaders of state Medicaid agencies across the country and the nation’s territories, recognizes the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services for its national leadership on Medicaid workforce modernization.

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services was awarded a 2022 NAMD Spotlight for Innovation award following its critical efforts to implement new and creative ways to support their staff amid hiring shortages and Medicaid member enrollment growth. The annual NAMD Spotlight awards recognize innovations in Medicaid that improve the program for Medicaid members and advance the overarching goals of creating healthier communities.

“On behalf of the entire Iowa Medicaid team, we are thrilled to receive this recognition from NAMD. A modernized and more cohesive workforce is key to achieving our Iowa Medicaid mission, vision and values and to reflect our direction from our federal partners.  We’ve come a long way – and I am so proud to work alongside such dedicated and passionate team members who continue to improve Medicaid for our members and providers every day,” said Iowa Medicaid Director Elizabeth Matney.

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services developed a “workforce first” mindset that has made them a national model for workforce modernization. Iowa has focused their time and effort on building a high-capacity team within the realities of a small staff and global workforce shortages. Workforce retention is challenged by Iowa employee salary caps and regulations that limit benefits.  In July 2021, Iowa started off as a team of only 45 staff managing an increased enrollment of over 200,000 Medicaid members, or an increase of 30 percent.

Over the past year, Iowa has found new and innovative ways to support their small staff in being highly efficient, aligned, motivated, and engaged. In the past year, the team in Iowa developed its inaugural state strategic plan. It encompasses their mission, vision, objectives and values and all the work that the team does on a daily basis is now rooted in this plan. To create lasting partnerships that will ensure improved outcomes for Medicaid members, Iowa has taken steps to actively participate in building sustainable relationships with sister state agencies including child welfare, mental health authority, and the finance authority. They have also worked with their public health partners to develop one maternal health strategic plan that is more actionable through appropriate delineation of expertise, authority, and implementation. Finally, the team has worked to improve partnership with managed care organizations to more effectively leverage managed care flexibility to move the needle on equity and social drivers of health, among other initiatives.

“Iowa is a shining example of what Medicaid agencies can accomplish when they have clear goals and dedication to creating the best program possible,” said Dianne Hasselman, NAMD Interim Executive Director. “Workforce is a real challenge everywhere and when you couple that with the unprecedented enrollment growth Medicaid has experienced, the challenge is compounded. Iowa found a way to make these challenges a benefit for their Medicaid members and a model solution for the country.”

About the National Association of Medicaid Directors

The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) is a bipartisan, nonprofit, professional organization representing leaders of state Medicaid agencies across the country. NAMD supports Medicaid Directors in administering the program in cost-effective, efficient, and visionary ways that enable the over 89 million Americans served by Medicaid to achieve their best health and to thrive in their communities. NAMD does this by offering programs for Medicaid Directors, elevating the consensus issues of Directors in the federal policy process, and serving as the trusted source for data and information about Directors. Learn more at and follow NAMD on Twitter @statemedicaid.


Media Contact:
Alex Carfrae