Des Moines, Iowa – Today, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releases Evaluation Report: Recommendations for Strengthening Iowa’s Community-based Services (CBS) System. Underscoring Iowa’s commitment to serving its Medicaid members, HHS sought an in-depth review of available services and programs for members with long-term service and support needs. Throughout the past year, this external review vetted Iowa’s array of services and the policies and procedures Iowans must navigate to access those services. Seated at the table throughout these discussions, consumers, families, caregivers, and providers shared feedback and insights on their positive and negative experiences with the system and their recommendations about needed system reforms.
The report released today encapsulates the strengths and weaknesses of Iowa’s CBS system and paints the roadmap for Iowa HHS in its next phase of waiver transformation.
“The team did an incredible amount of work in short timeframe but didn’t sacrifice the needed voice from our members. This report provides clear and actionable guidance for how HHS can transform our CBS programs into a system that not only ensures members have access to equitable and high-quality services but also one that emphasizes whole person health,” said Elizabeth Matney, Iowa Medicaid Director.
The interplay between Medicaid and Mental Health and Disability Services Regions (MHDS) is key to the implementation of these recommendations. Aligning the MHDS Regions and Medicaid services to better leverage public funding will create a more accountable, streamlined system and allow for maximal use of state dollars to reach the most people. “I was thrilled to work alongside the Mathematica team and colleagues at Iowa Medicaid to develop this system-wide transformation effort. We’re eager to work with our partners across the state to develop efficient access and eliminate barriers to care,” said Marissa Eyanson, Behavioral Health and Disability Services Director.
The report also outlines addressing the needs of Iowans who are on waiver waiting lists. The report recommends streamlining the waiver process, including developing a single HCBS waiting list, rather than keeping separate lists as the program currently does. The Iowa HHS Community-based Services Evaluation (CBSE) Team is developing a Transformation Plan which will include the framework for implementation of recommendations. The team is focused on the steps that are required for activities listed first in the Transformation Plan and that information will be shared within the next few months.
The report can be found on the HHS CBSE landing page at https://hhs.iowa.gov/CBSE. The Iowa HHS CBSE Team will continue to share updates on next steps on the Iowa CBSE website, through the Medicaid Newsletter, social media and other communication platforms.