The director of the Iowa Department of Public Health says one of the biggest challenges facing Iowa’s health system is dealing with the increasing cost of elder care. Public Health director Tom Newton says his agency has several initiatives designed to try to reduce costs.
Newton says the state pays for "in home visits" from medical professionals to try to find ways to help the elderly live independently in their own home as long as possible. Newton says Iowans often retire to other states, but then move back to Iowa when they’re older to be closer to family when their health starts to fail.
On another topic, Newton says most of the people who work in the agency are white, so there is a new "office of multicultural health" in the department. Newton says it will help make sure the department’s public health messages "reach all Iowans." In addition, Newton says he’s looking for job applicants who can speak Spanish. Newton made his comments Thursday during an appearance on Iowa Public Radio.