STATE NEWS: Iowa dental college to turn away new Medicaid patients

IOWA CITY (AP) — The University of Iowa's dental college plans to turn away new patients covered by Iowa's Medicaid program, citing low payments and confusing rules.

The Des Moines Register reports that leaders of the college have decided that, starting next week, it no longer will routinely accept patients covered by Iowa Medicaid's Dental Wellness Plan. The plan covers most adults who are among the 600,000 poor or disabled Iowans covered by Medicaid.

The college will continue to serve existing patients.

Associate dental college dean Michael Kanellis said in a letter to the Iowa Medicaid program dental program overseer that the Medicaid plan is paying less for services than it used to and has added confusing rules.

Department of Human Services spokesman Matt Highland said Thursday his agency will address the college concerns.

High winds wreak havoc in several Iowa communities

DES MOINES (AP) — High winds from a fast-moving storm front have knocked trees and limbs onto houses and cars and knocked out power to homes and businesses in several Iowa counties.

Gusts up to 80 mph were reported Thursday and winds nearing 60 mph were reported at Des Moines International Airport. At least two semitrailers were tipped over on Interstate 80 near Walnut and one on Interstate 35 near Bevington. No injuries were reported.

Indianola officials say some trees posed a danger to cleanup efforts because they were touching downed power lines.

Wind damage also was reported in Afton, Creston and Greenfield. A fireworks tent and fireworks were destroyed in Winterset.

Court: 'Egregious' actions not enough for attorney's removal

DES MOINES (AP) — Despite acknowledging a county prosecutor's behavior was "morally reprehensible" and "egregious," the Iowa Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of the attorney, saying his actions didn't reach the threshold to remove an elected official.

The court ruled in a 4-3 decision Friday that Abraham Watkins was wrongly removed as Van Buren County attorney in January 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment. He was accused of commenting on an employee's breasts, repeatedly appearing in underwear in his home office and displaying nude photos of his wife.

Justice David Wiggins, in a dissent, rebuked the all-male court for trivializing harassment, noting "enough is enough."

Watkins attorney, Al Parrish, says Watkins has learned from the experience and hasn't decided yet whether he wants to be reinstated. The state attorney general's office declined to comment.