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Branstad: Some Companies "Not Following" Medicaid Privatization Rules

Joyce Russell/IPR
Lobbyists and health care providers crowd a committee room for a hearing on Medicaid privatization

Gov. Terry Branstad confirmed on Monday that the for-profit companies now managing Iowa’s multi-billion dollar Medicaid program did not follow the rules in the first two months of operation. But the governor also says the state issued no warnings or fees, in spite of complaints of late payments to health care providers and delayed care to patients.  

People have not done what they're required to do.

A Freedom of Information request by the Associated Press revealed no sanctions for violations for April or May, despite these rule violations. Branstad says the Department of Human Services wants to work with the companies, not against them.

“It’s my understanding this is something they did for the first couple of months,” Branstad says.

Information is not yet available for June or July. Branstad says critics of the program want a confrontational approach.

“We want a collaborative approach that gets the services to people as quickly as possible,” Branstad says.

Contracts with the companies allow for written warnings, corrective action plans, and fees.

Lawmakers told the AP they were not informed of the plan to have a grace period before the companies would be fined for violations. A committee led by Iowa Senate democrats which is overseeing Medicaid privatization will receive a quarterly report ahead of its meeting next week.  

Branstad claimed the new privatized program is reducing fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system, though he did not provide data to back that up.   

The Des Moines Register reported Monday that two of the three private companies managing Iowa’s Medicaid program say they’ve lost tens of millions of dollars so far.