Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services announced the awardees of Iowa’s Centers of Excellence Program grant totaling more than $2.2 million in funding to support and improve health care delivery in rural Iowa. 

Centers of Excellence increase access to specialized multi-disciplinary care and are devoted to tackling the major health needs and disparities confronting rural Iowans. The awarded funds will help regional and local health systems build and enhance systems to ensure rural Iowans have the same access to specialized care as those living in metro areas. 

“The Centers of Excellence grants not only support health care providers in improving access to specialty care in rural communities, but sustaining it long term,” stated Governor Reynolds. “I’m thrilled that this program will help three more regional health systems address the specific needs of their surrounding communities, and I’m committed to growing legislative support for these efforts.” 

Iowa was recently ranked second in the nation among all states for the best health systems based on cost, access, and outcomes. 

The awardees are: 

Cass Health 

Cass Health’s Centers of Excellence will offer services in Adams, Adair, Audubon, Cass, and Montgomery counties. Their program aims to improve rural maternal health services in southwest Iowa. This regional partnership will provide women in these communities with maternal health services, including prenatal and postnatal care that they would not have access to otherwise. Sustaining and growing OB outreach clinics in this rural region aims to reduce transportation and financial resource barriers. This will increase routine access to prenatal and postnatal care. 

Mahaska Health 

Mahaska Health’s Centers of Excellence will offer services in the fourteen-county region of Jefferson, Appanoose, Davis, Iowa, Jasper, Keokuk, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Poweshiek, Van Buren, Wapello, and Washington. This project aims to improve access to high quality, specialty health care by creating regional hubs of medical expertise. Regional alliances exist in maternal care, obstetrics, and general surgery. This project will build upon these partnerships and expand them to cardiology and oncology. 

Van Buren County Hospital 

Van Buren County Hospital’s Centers of Excellence will offer services in Van Buren, Davis, Jefferson and Lee counties. Local partners came together to form the Southeast Iowa Complex Care Network, which will focus on the needs of geriatric patients and will offer an innovative system of collaboration and managed care that will guide patients with complex care needs to all available resources, while simplifying access to services and delivering improved health outcomes. 

Each awardee will receive up to $250,000 per year for three years. Contracts will be established with each awardee later this month to begin this work.