A man who led the Iowa Department of Human Services for more than a decade and a half has died according to a news release from the agency.
Chuck Palmer was director of the Iowa Department of Human Services from 1989 to 1999. When Republican Terry Branstad returned to the governor’s office in 2011, he put Palmer back in charge of the agency.
Palmer steered the department through Medicaid expansion and the move to have private companies manage Iowa Medicaid. Palmer also was involved in redesigning the state’s mental health system to a regional rather than 99-county approach and he oversaw the closure of Mental Health Institutes in Clarina and Mount Pleasant.
Kelly Garcia, the current DHS director, says Palmer had a tremendous passion for the agency’s work and had been a mentor to her after she took the job two years ago. Palmer retired four-and-a-half years ago.