Federal grants totaling $1.3 million are going to organizations in six Iowa communities, to experiment with health care reforms. Governor Terry Branstad says the goal is to both reduce costs and improve the health of Iowans.
“Transformational change is possible when people break down silos and work in a collaborative way,” Branstad says.
Iowa is getting $43 million over the next four years to test new payment methods and new ways of delivering health care services. The hospital in West Burlington, along with the public health agencies in Dallas County, Linn County, Marion County, Sioux County and Webster County are getting grants in this first round. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says the goal is to reduce obesity, tobacco use and chronic diseases like diabetes.
“To begin this, we must involve the entire local health care delivery system and make sure that everyone in the community takes ownership,” Reynolds says.
Iowa Department of Public Health director Gerd Clabaugh says “broad-based” reform has to start at the local level.
“Community-based health care delivery system which are strong and focused on the needs of all Iowans are critically important not only for health care, but for economic development and to the well-being of our citizens,” he says.
Representatives from the six organizations that have won these grants will meet March 8 to discuss how to collaborate with others in their community, including local elected officials. Clabaugh suggests making it easy to exercise in a community, for example, can improve the health of its citizens, so maintaining sidewalks and creating more walking, running and biking trails is important.
Officials expect future funding from these grants will reach all counties in the state.