Protecting and Promoting Medicaid’s Guaranteed Benefits for Children: Iowa EPSDT and Managed Care


With support from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families under a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, the Child and Family Policy Center (CFPC, also referred to as the Center) engaged in activities in 2017 to protect and strengthen Medicaid’s critical pediatric benefit in the context of Iowa’s managed care rollout. CFPC welcomed this opportunity because during the state’s rapid transition to Medicaid managed care, children’s issues were largely put on the back burner. Facing more pressing issues, neither the state, MCOs, nor providers prioritized promoting and protecting EPSDT. This project allowed the Center to not only promote the EPSDT benefit specifically but also elevate the importance of children’s health care needs within Medicaid more generally and give children a “seat at the table” with key stakeholders. It also gave the Center the chance to engage in positive, proactive work to improve the quality of care for Iowa kids, a welcome shift from the more defensive stance the Center has recently taken to protect access to health care. Protecting access and improving quality are complimentary efforts because access to health coverage is only as good as the quality of care that such coverage makes available.

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Tricia Brooks
Tricia Brooks is a Research Professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families