The Harkin Institute is excited to share the findings of the Community-based Services Evaluation (CBSE) for Iowans with disabilities and behavioral health and aging needs, conducted on behalf of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with researchers at Mathematica.

The evaluation assessed community-based behavioral health, disability, and aging services across the state within the Iowa Medicaid and Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) regions. The goal was to better understand how people in Iowa access and use these services. Consumers, families, caregivers, and providers shared their experience, feedback, and recommendations throughout the assessment process. The report outlines addressing the needs of people in Iowa who are currently on Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver waiting lists, recommending to streamline the waiver process rather than keeping separate waiting lists as done in the present.

The evaluation led to key findings and recommendations for HHS which are detailed in the team’s report: Recommendations for Strengthening Iowa’s Community-based Services System.

“The Harkin Institute is proud to have worked with Mathematica and the Iowa Department for Health and Human Services on this project,” said Daniel Van Sant, Director of Disability Policy at The Harkin Institute. “Our team at the Institute conducted more than 40 listening sessions with Iowans across our state and online. We are honored that people shared their stories with us and are excited to finally be able to present the final report. We look forward to continuing to work with Mathematica, HHS, and Iowans to make needed improvement to community-based services in our state.”

Now and in the coming months, the CBSE team is working on ways to help HHS act on the recommendations listed in the report and bring changes to their community-based service (CBS) programs. In the coming weeks, the team will share a Transformation Plan that outlines next steps for implementation and details about how people in Iowa can engage in future feedback sessions.