According to a new report released by the State Ombudsman Office, there has been a 157% increase in Medicaid-related problems reported to the agency in 2017. Most of these complaints came from the members and providers involved in Home and Community Based Waivers (HCBS), services that allow people to stay in their homes rather than moving to an institution.
The report by the Ombudsman, which is an independent department responsible for investigating complaints against state and local governments, describes several of the investigations, including an 80-year-old woman who won an appeal against one of the Managed Care Organizations (MCO) and was still denied services. Other investigations include payment disputes taking a year and a half to settle; and severe reductions in services without official notification.
One case involved a quadriplegic whose services were cut by 71%, was forced to leave his house and move into a nursing home. The report found the move to the nursing home actually cost the state more money per month than if he was able to stay in his home.
Finally, the report indicated that the office believes the Department of Human Services (DHS) is not providing adequate oversight of the MCOs. The full Ombudsman report can be found here: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/DF/961421.pdf.
The Governor unilaterally privatized Medicaid in April 2016, and the results have been disastrous for Iowa. This report proves that Iowan’s have been denied critical care and had their services drastically cut. Many lawmakers believe this isn’t the way to treat Iowa’s most vulnerable populations and are trying to improve oversight or end the failed Medicaid privatization experiment.