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DHS Holding Series of Town Halls After United Healthcare Pulls Out of Iowa’s Medicaid Syst

DHS Holding Series of Town Halls After United Healthcare Pulls Out of Iowa’s Medicaid System
DHS Holding Series of Town Halls After United Healthcare Pulls Out of Iowa’s Medicaid System

DES MOINES, Iowa –By July 1, hundreds of thousands of Iowans will be assigned to a new managed care provider under Iowa’s privatized Medicaid system. On Wednesday, DHS held the first in a series of town halls on the subject in Des Moines.

Cyndy Miller, legal director for Disability Rights Iowa, says the people she represents have a lot of questions about the process.

“Where’s the information on who am I going to be assigned to now that United Healthcare is out of the market? Where are my providers contracting, and will I be able to maintain my case manager?” she said.

Local lawmakers will also be attending after hearing their constituents’ fears.

“I have people who have concerns ranging from ‘I need compression socks and I can’t get them I won’t be covered,’ to somebody’s on the heart transplant list who wonders if she’ll have to start at the bottom again with a new provider, so these are not only budgetary information but life and death situations and the confusion I think is the scariest part” said Jennifer Konfrst (D), Des Moines.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon Iowa’s Medicaid Director Mike Randol says they are working with the MCOs to ensure that case workers who transfer will stay with their patients, and that letters will be sent on May 10 to patients directly impacted by United Healthcare pulling out. In the meantime, DHS will be using the town halls to talk with patients face to face and hope to relieve some fears.

“No one is losing benefits. Regardless of which MCO you’re assigned to the Medicaid benefits are the same. The state determines Medicaid benefits, the state determines Medicaid policy for Medicaid, not the MCO. So, the only variance in the services are the value-added services that each MCO may provide” said Randol.

Randol also says there will be no gaps in service, and that prior authorizations will be honored by new MCOs for 90 days. Miller says that is crucial because even one day where a patient goes without service is unacceptable.

“It can be detrimental to people who have to perhaps sit in their own waste for over 24 hours, or not get a meal, or just the mental health stress on worrying about all the changes that are happening and whether they’ll be taken care of” said Miller.

Here is a list of the remaining town halls:

Thursday, May 9: Waterloo Provider Town Hall, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., Tama Hall Room 102, Hawkeye Community College, 1501 East Orange Road, Waterloo Member Town Hall, 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Tama Hall Room 102, Hawkeye Community College, 1501 East Orange Road, Waterloo

Friday, May 10: Cedar Rapids Provider Town Hall, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., Kirkwood Community College, Main Campus, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids Member Town Hall, 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Kirkwood Community College, Main Campus, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids

Monday, May 13: Sioux City Medicaid Provider Training in lieu of Provider Town Hall, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Sioux City Convention Center, 801 4th St., Sioux City Member Town Hall, 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Sioux City Convention Center, 801 4th St., Sioux City

Tuesday, May 14: Council Bluffs Medicaid Provider Training in lieu of Provider Town Hall, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs Member Town Hall, 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Council Bluffs Public Library, 400 Willow Ave., Council Bluffs

Thursday, May 16: Davenport Provider Town Hall, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., Davenport Public Library, 321 Main St., Davenport Member Town Hall, 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., Davenport Public Library, 321 Main St., Davenport