Former DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven speaking to the Johnston Rotary Club in 2017.
Photo Credit: Johnston Rotary Club

DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds named Gerd W. Clabaugh the interim director of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) after Jerry Foxhoven resigned on Monday, effective immediately, after Reynolds requested his resignation.

Foxhoven was appointed by Reynolds to replace Chuck Palmer who retired in 2017 in the midst of two Iowa teenagers, adopted out of the foster care system, who died after DHS received reports about abuse and neglect.

He was confirmed by the Iowa Senate in March of 2018. During his time at DHS, he helped the state’s Medicaid program with transitions to a managed-care system. The switch has not been without controversy as two insurance companies have left the program.

Foxhoven was named in a federal lawsuit over alleged abuse and inhumane treatment at the State Boys Training School located in Eldora, a facility that DHS oversees. He testified in the trial for that lawsuit on Thursday.

Foxhoven’s replacement Clabaugh currently serves as the director of the Iowa Department of Public Health (DPH) and will remain there while leading DHS on an interim basis until a permanent replacement can be found.

“Gerd has done an incredible job at the Department of Public Health and is well positioned to lead the Department of Human Services,” Reynolds said. “He will play a very important role in implementing my vision for an integrated, compassionate, and coordinated health care system.”

Clabaugh has served as the director at DPH since 2014. Prior to serving as the director, he served in a variety of capacities at DPH including deputy director, director of health promotion and chronic disease prevention, director of acute disease epidemiology and emergency response.

He has Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and Economics from Drake University, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Iowa State University, and Doctoral Studies in Health Management and Policy from the University of Iowa.

The Des Moines Register reports that Foxhoven said his resignation was requested by Reynolds.

“At the request of the governor, I submitted my resignation. It was an honor to serve Iowans at the Department of Human Services during an important time of transition. I wish the many hard-working employees at the department the very best and know that they will continue to serve the people of Iowa well,” he said in a released statement.

Caffeinated Thoughts has reached out to the Governor’s office for comment on the nature of Foxhoven’s resignation.

Photo Credit: Johnston Rotary Club

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