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DHS Chief: “We Were At Fault” on Family Planning Services

John Pemble/IPR
Dept. of Human Services Dir. Jerry Foxhoven

The head of the Iowa Department of Human Services Wednesday admitted problems with Iowa’s new family planning program that takes the place of Planned Parenthood clinics around the state.      

After lawmakers said no state money should go to clinics that perform abortions, the state is redirecting funds to other clinics for subsidized birth control.      

Director Jerry Foxhoven took questions about the program in an appearance before the Senate Human Resources Committee.  

“How many providers are out there?” asked Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), a leading critic of the change.  “Who’s getting services?”  

Who's getting services? -Sen. Joe Bolkcom

Foxhoven replied the number of claims so far has dropped.  

He said it appears patients aren’t using all the providers who are out there.  

“I'm not saying we need to recruit more providers but we need to make sure the patients know all that's available to them,” Foxhoven said. “I think we were at fault for that.”

Foxhoven admitted the department had problems putting together a provider list.

“I think part of it is we sent out this questionnaire, this attestation that was very clear,” Foxhoven said, “and apparently it wasn't very clear to other people because they put their names on when they clearly do not provide family planning services.”

DHS may have to step up and advertise. -Dir. Jerry Foxhoven

For example, Foxhoven said, a dentist is on the list.

Foxhoven says once they have a clean list of providers, DHS will conduct a public information campaign to advise patients where to go for services.

“DHS may have to step up and advertise,”  Foxhoven said.  “If you had a restaurant close and people don't know about there's a new one that opened on the other side of town, no one's going there for a while.”