Iowa Human Services Director Resigns At Governor's Request

19 hours ago

This post was updated Monday, June 17, at 4:06 p.m. 

Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven resigned Monday at the request of Gov. Kim Reynolds. 

Reynolds’ office did not say why she asked for Foxhoven's resignation two years after she appointed him to the position. 

Her office sent a news release Monday afternoon announcing that Gerd Clabaugh, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, will take the top job at DHS until the governor names a new director. The email mentioned that Foxhoven resigned effective Monday. 

"It was an honor to serve Iowans at the Department of Human Services during an important time of transition," Foxhoven said in a statement. "I wish the many hard-working employees at the department the very best and know they will continue to serve the people of Iowa well."

DHS oversees Medicaid, child welfare, public assistance and other programs. The department has recently been at the center of several high-profile news stories.

Foxhoven testified in a federal trial in which Disability Rights Iowa is accusing DHS of using unconstitutional and illegal practices to treat mental illness at a state-run residential school in Eldora for boys convicted of crimes.

DHS has also come under scrutiny for a spike in deaths at the Glenwood Resource Center, a state institution for Iowans with severe disabilities.

And in about two weeks, the state’s privately managed Medicaid program will see one insurance company leave and a new one come online, shifting hundreds of thousands of patients to a new company.

Reynolds appointed Foxhoven to the DHS director position in 2017. Foxhoven was tasked with improving Iowa’s child welfare system, which became a prominent issue when two teenagers died after being adopted out of foster care.

Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, said the governor should launch a nationwide search for a director who will fight for more resources and stronger policies.

"It's especially bad news for Medicaid recipients, health care providers and Iowa taxpayers that the governor's director is leaving in the middle of negotiations with both out-of-state managed care organizations and when hundreds of thousands of Iowans are two weeks away from transitioning to a new MCO," Petersen said.