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Iowa Department of Public Health

Top Flex Activities

Program Area: Support for Quality Improvement

Iowa's goals are to improve patient safety in critical access hospitals (CAHs) and the community by:

  • Ensuring all health care providers and eligible patient populations receive their influenza vaccinations
  • Provide technical assistance (TA) workshops and consultation site visits to improve hospital staff and patient vaccination rates and provide online vaccination data reporting system reports (in addition to other data reports)

These goals will be measured by the percentage of CAH staff vaccinated, the percentage of eligible patient population vaccinated and the percentage of CAHs reporting on influenza vaccination rates.

Program Area: Support for Financial and Operational Improvement

In the area of financial and operational improvement, the Iowa Flex Program will:

  • Conduct three meetings with identified CAH cohorts in high need of financial and operational assistance to help prepare CAHs for new payment and delivery models
  • Track the number of CAHs in need of financial and operational assessments that show improved financial and operational performance
  • Track the number of targeted CAHs that attend regional meetings

Program Area: Support for Population Health Management and Emergency Medical Services Integration 

In the area of population health management and emergency medical services (EMS), Iowa will:

  • Provide a statewide CAH Population Health Management Needs Assessment
  • Evaluate CAH and county level Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) to determine needs related to health access, disease prevention, causes and treatments
  • Track the number of CAHs completing or revising CHNAs

Please provide information about Collaboration/Shared Services.

The Iowa Flex Program has contracted with consulting experts to advise Iowa CAHs and their communities on how to collaborate with their local public health agency to identify population health needs and develop action planning to implement change.

Please provide information about any efforts to assist CAHs/communities and partner organizations in the transition to value-based care.

The Iowa Flex Program has contracted with consulting experts to advise Iowa CAHs and their communities on what value-based care is and how the transition will impact the health care system.

Please provide information about network activities in your state to support Flex Program activities.

In Iowa, cohorts were developed for both quality and financial improvement networks. These groups work together on similar topics to learn best practices and receive hands-on support.

Please describe how your state Flex Program has enhanced its use of data in the past year.

Data is consistently shared amongst CAHs and Flex contractors to focus on performance status in quality, outcomes, patient satisfaction, and financial strength.

Do you have any hospitals interested in converting to CAH status?


Program Statistics

Type of Organization State Government
Staffing 2.4 FTE
Number of CAHs 82
Website URL Organization Website

Flex Program Staff

Cassie Kennedy
Flex Coordinator

Began as Flex Coordinator in April 2019.

Merrill Meese
EMS Regional Coordinator, Iowa
(515) 344-2793

Specialty Areas / Background

  • EMS system development
  • EMS service program rule compliance
  • Incident management; Incident Commander on Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division All Hazards Incident Management Team 2005-present

EMS Regional Coordinator since 1998

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,100,000 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.