Improving Access to Quality Health Care

Gov. Reynolds and group talking to a provider during a tour at LifeServe.

Every Iowan deserves to have access to high quality health care when and where they need it. But rising costs and a shortage of providers make that challenging, especially in rural communities. New models of care delivery, based on the needs of Iowans, can ensure that quality health care remains accessible, affordable and close to home.

Centers of Excellence

Declining populations in some communities have resulted in lower volumes of patients. Local hospitals and health care providers are struggling to sustain all the services they’ve historically offered. Changing how and where care is delivered by leveraging resources regionally can improve access to care in some areas of our state.

Centers of Excellence are innovative care models that specialize in specific areas of medicine, offer a variety of services and treatments, and can be established to create regional access to specialty care.

Governor Reynolds proposes $1 million for the creation of two Centers of Excellence to encourage innovation and collaboration among regional health care providers and improve care delivery in Iowa.

  • Two $500,000 grant awards will be supplemented by matching community investments. 
  • Funding can be used for compensation to attract specialty providers, redesign or remodel physical space to accommodate services in the center, or to invest in necessary technology. 
  • Proposals must include a five-year sustainability plan. 

Mental Health

In 2018, Governor Reynolds signed two historic bills into law expanding mental health services and advancing suicide prevention. Then in 2019, the Governor successfully established the state’s first Children’s Mental Health System with overwhelming bipartisan support from the Legislature. Solutions are now in place to provide core services statewide that address the needs of adults, children and families. 

In 2020, the Governor allocated $30 million from Iowa’s Coronavirus Relief Fund for the state’s 14 MHDS regions, and $10 million to mental health providers, to support the increased need for services during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sustainable mental health funding remains a high priority. The Governor proposes:

  • $30 million state appropriation split over the next two years, FY 2022 and FY 2023.

Psychiatry Residency Program

The Psychiatry Residency Training Program designates funding to support the expansion of psychiatry residency spots of established accredited programs in Iowa.

  • Additional $200,000 in funding to expand the number of graduating residents, for a total investment of $600,000.

Nursing Facilities

Throughout the pandemic, nursing facility administrators and staff were on the frontline, doing their part to prevent infection among residents and providing quality care when illness occurred. 

  • $10 million increase is proposed this both year and next year for nursing facility rebasing funds.

Home and Community-based Services

Home and community-based care for the aging and disabled allows individuals to remain at home where they prefer to be, rather than moving to a care facility. Services focus on maintaining health, providing assistance with activities of daily living, and promoting quality of life. 

  • $8 million increase is proposed for an across the board increase in funding for Home and Community-based Services and Habilitation Medicaid programs.
  • $30 million was additionally allocated from Iowa’s Coronavirus Relief Fund to assist with increased costs due to the pandemic.  

Psychiatric Medical Institutes for Children (PMIC)

Children who struggle with ongoing mental health challenges may benefit from inpatient care and therapy provided at PMICs.  Access to these services is critical for helping children reach their potential and for supporting their families. And over the last year, as kids were kept out of the classroom and away from the stability it provides, the need for these services has only increased. 

  • $3.9 million is proposed for a rate increase.

Sensible Tort Reform

The ability to deliver healthcare in every part of the state is currently being threatened by limitless, multi-million dollar tort claims, many of which are being brought by out-of-state attorneys.  Iowans who are injured by legal malpractice need to be fairly compensated, but as a majority of states have recognized, out-of-control verdicts decrease access to medical treatment, especially in our rural areas. Governor Reynolds supports reasonable caps on medical malpractice lawsuits that protect patients and our healthcare system.

Supporting Life

Our efforts to promote strong and healthy Iowans must be inclusive of all lives, including the unborn. The Governor supports a constitutional amendment clarifying that abortion is not a right in Iowa.