UPH Government & External Affairs

Iowa Update – December 2021

by | Dec 15, 2021

Health Policy Oversight Committee to Meet December 20

The Health Policy Oversight Committee (HPOC) of the Iowa Legislature is scheduled to meet on December 20 where a number of key issues of importance to UnityPoint Health will be addressed. Comprised of ten members of the Iowa House and Senate, the HPOC is charged with providing continued oversight for the state’s Medicaid and managed care system, and is charged with making recommendations on the system to the Legislature. Included in the meeting are presentations by Iowa Medicaid director Liz Matney and the presidents of Iowa’s two Medicaid managed care organizations. Topics of particular interest include:

  • Review of the FY 2022 Medicaid managed care contracts;
  • Updates on the current Medicaid managed care Request for Proposal (RFP) timeline, which is scheduled to close later this month and will then move into a review phase before decisions are made by the State;
  • Results of the Iowa Total Care audit and the FY 2021 MCO Annual Performance Report;
  • Next steps on “unwinding the Public Health Emergency”, including Medicaid disenrollment and COVID-19 flexibilities; and
  • Value-based contracting.

Key outcomes from the HPOC meeting will be shared in next month’s UnityPoint Health Iowa Update.

Revenue Estimating Conference Meets and Predicts Increase in Tax Revenue

The three-person Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on December 13 to issue one of its most important estimates – the net General Fund estimate – that is used by the Governor to develop her budget recommendations to the Legislature and by the Legislature in developing the State’s next Fiscal Year (FY) budget.

The REC projected that the current FY budget will end three percent (3%) higher than the previous year, with total net receipts of $9 billion. Additionally, the three-member REC projected that net receipts for the State will grow to $9.21 billion (one point seven percent (1.7%) increase) during the next FY.

Following the meeting, Republican majority state lawmakers and Governor Reynolds issued statements that indicated the projections helped to confirm what is likely to be substantial legislation focused on tax cuts during the 2022 Iowa legislative session.

The Iowa REC is comprised of the following members:

  • Holly Lyons, fiscal division director of the Iowa Legislative Services Agency
  • Kraig Paulsen, interim director of the Iowa Department of Revenue
  • David Underwood, public member (retired CEO of treasurer of AADG, Inc.)

Governor Reynolds Issues New Public Health Emergency Proclamation, UnityPoint Health Hospitals Receive Staffing Support

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on December 10 issued an updated Proclamation of Disaster Emergency that extends some regulatory relief for the COVID-19 pandemic for an additional 30 days.

Additionally, the State recently signed a contract with a health care staffing agency to bring 100 nurses and respiratory therapists from outside of Iowa to provide short-term staffing support to the state’s 17 Level I, II and III trauma centers. Of note, the following UnityPoint Health trauma center hospitals have received staffing support:

  • UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital (Level III)
  • UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital (Level III)
  • UnityPoint Health – Iowa Methodist Medical Center (Level I)
  • UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s (Level III)
  • UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital (Level III)

UnityPoint Health Government & External Affairs Leader Participates in Iowa Community Health Conference Rural Health & COVID-19 Expert Panel

Image: Ashley Thompson (fourth from left) discusses the need for additional COVID-19 policies and legislation to support Iowa’s health care workforce. Image Source: Iowa Community Health Conference.

 On November 2, UnityPoint Health government & external affairs director Ashley Thompson participated in an expert panel focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on rural and underserved communities as part of the statewide Iowa Community Health Conference. Thompson, an executive committee member of the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) and board member of the Iowa Rural Health Association (IRHA), discussed current federal and policy implications and shared promising innovations such as the UnityPoint at Home Acute Hospital Care at Home program, expanded behavioral health urgent care and telehealth offerings that have provided new and additional ways for patients to access care in non-traditional health care settings. Thompson and Sarah Reisetter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), also discussed the importance of collaboration and partnerships between health care providers and state agencies during public health emergencies and pandemics.

Moderated by Bill Menner, executive director of the IRDC and IRHA and past board chair of UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center, panelists Included:

  • Dr. Sharon Duclos, co-medical director, People’s Community Health Clinic
  • Mari Kaptain-Dahlen, CEO, Siouxland Community Health Center
  • Edward (Ed) Friedman, physician assistant, Redfield Rural Health Clinic
  • Ashley Thompson, director of government & external affairs, UnityPoint Health
  • Sarah Reisetter, deputy director, Iowa Department of Public Health



For more information about State of Iowa advocacy, legislative, policy and regulatory issues of impact to UnityPoint Health, please contact Ashley Thompson, director of government & external affairs.