Autism Speaks honors Iowa Medicaid Director Elizabeth Matney for exemplary leadership in advancing access to autism services

January 18, 2024
Iowa Medicaid Director Elizabeth Matney holding clear puzzle piece award and standing next to Autism Speaks representative

Autism Speaks is pleased to recognize Iowa Medicaid Director Elizabeth Matney for her outstanding contributions to improving access to services for autistic Iowans. Under Director Matney's leadership in 2023, the Iowa Department of Human Services began the redesign of the state’s home and community-based services (HCBS) waiver program to improve quality and access to services for the thousands of individuals who rely upon it.

The vital supports that HCBS provide, including in-home services and community day programs, are critical to ensuring that many autistic individuals can live, remain safe, and participate in their communities. Without HCBS, families and individuals must provide these supports on their own. During the award presentation in late December, Director Matney highlighted the historical underservice of the autism community by the state's HCBS program and expressed the redesign's goal to rectify this issue.

Under her leadership, staff working on the redesign have sought input and collaboration from the autism community to ameliorate previous challenges within the system. For example, participation in the waiver program will no longer be linked to any specific diagnosis (like a brain injury or intellectual disability) but rather will be determined based on an assessment of an individual’s needs. This should allow for greater participation in the HCBS program by autistic Iowans who are not intellectually disabled.

Autism Speaks expresses gratitude to Director Elizabeth Matney for her dedication and leadership in this state effort to advance access to autism services in Iowa. We look forward to continuing to support her staff’s efforts and our advocacy on initiatives that enhance the lives of individuals with autism and their families.


Additional Resources: