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Iowa Governor Talks For First Time About Ousting Department Leader She Had Hired

Gov. Kim Reynolds (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds hadn’t said anything publicly since Monday when she met with Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven, asked him to resign, announced the resignation in a new release and then flew out-of-state for an event the next day. On Wednesday, she addressed her decision, without providing many specifics about what led to it.

“We are starting a new fiscal year (July 1st),” the governor told reporters. “I want to get the new team in place. I’m looking forward to really starting the new fiscal year with some exciting priorities to work on for Iowans.”

That start of the fiscal year almost marks the start for Iowa Total Care, a new provider for some of the lower-income, disabled and elderly residents covered by Medicaid. United Health Care left the system after a disagreement with the state over reimbursement rates for services. 

Reynolds hired Foxhoven in 2017 to continue the transition that previous Governor Terry Branstad began in 2016 to turn over state management of Medicaid services to private companies for nearly 600,000 residents.

Why did Reynolds no longer want Foxhoven leading the department? “I’m not going to get into that. There are a lot of factors that went in that decision. I appreciate Jerry stepping in in a really tough time and helping with the transition. I really appreciate that a lot. I’ve just made the decision to go a different direction.”

Asked whether that decision was based on Foxhoven’s performance, behavior or overall vision for the department, Reynolds responded, “A lot of factors went into that decision.”


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