IOWA LEGISLATURE

Iowa House oversight panel plans sessions on Medicaid, Glenwood

New director of state Human Services will appear at both hearings

Kelly Garcia became director of the Iowa Department of Human Services on Nov. 1, 2019. Photographed Dec. 6, 2019, at the
Kelly Garcia became director of the Iowa Department of Human Services on Nov. 1, 2019. Photographed Dec. 6, 2019, at the Grant Wood Area Education Agency in southwest Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — The Iowa House Government Oversight Committee is panning two meetings this month with Kelly Garcia, the new director of the Department of Human Services, to address Medicaid managed care and allegations of problems that have surfaced at the Glenwood Resource Center.

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is investigating allegations that Jerry Rea, the former superintendent of western Iowa’s Glenwood, was planning to conduct human sexual arousal experiments and had begun questionable hydration therapy on patients. Officials also were examining patient deaths at the facility.

Rea was hired in 2017 and fired in December.

“I do not in any way want our committee to get in the way of those investigations,” said Chairwoman Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs, “but I also think it is very important given the nature of the allegations and serious matters at Glenwood that we do have a hearing.”

Garcia’s appearance before the committee March 11 will be to bring lawmakers up to date on the state’s Medicaid managed care program.

The department’s former director, Jerry Foxhoven, and chief executives from two managed care organizations met with the committee to discuss credentialing, prior authorization and timely payment issues.

“Because we believe this is an important issue that needs continued oversight and follow-up,” Hanusa said she will bring in Garcia and representatives of the current managed care organizations.

Then March 16, the committee will have a hearing on Glenwood, which Human Services also operates, she said.

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Emails and other documents released in February by Human Services show top agency officials were alerted by a doctor and other Glenwood workers in early 2018 about patient care changes under Rea they believed put the vulnerable population at risk.

Hanusa also said that four legislators went to Glenwood with their concerns, and spoke to Foxhoven and others.

“Now we know they were not told the truth in some instances about the questions they had,” Hanusa said. “I think that we as a legislators cannot let that stand.”

Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines of Des Moines, the ranking Democrat on the committee, asked what would be the next step if the committee found Garcia’s answers unsatisfactory. Hanusa said she would prefer to make that decision after hearing from Garcia.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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