Former Iowa officials sues Reynolds over ouster in 2019

June 12, 2021 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The former head of the Iowa Department of Human Services alleges in a lawsuit against Gov. Kim Reynolds that he was ousted because he raised concerns that one of her aides was being paid with federal Medicaid money.

Jerry Foxhoven contends in a lawsuit filed this week against Reynolds that he was fired in June 2019 “because he refused to engage in illegal activity; that is, committing Medicaid fraud,” The Des Moines Register reported.

Reynolds initially said she wanted the department to “go in a new direction” and later said Foxhoven’s dismissal was partly related to patient deaths at the Glenwood Resource Center, where Iowans with severe disabilities are treated.

Foxhoven contends he was fired because of a dispute over how Paige Thorson, a Reynolds aide, was paid.

When Thorson transferred from the Department of Human Services to the governor’s office, she continued to advise DHS on the Medicaid program. Under that arrangement, 69% of her salary was paid with Medicaid funds.

The suit contends that arrangement continued after Thorson no longer was assisting DHS.

Foxhoven said he was fired after he told Reynolds’ chief of staff that he would seek an opinion on the matter from assistant attorneys general assigned to his agency.

The governor’s spokesman, Pat Garrett, on Friday declined to comment on the lawsuit.