With the legislative session recently wrapped and the Medicaid transition only two months in, Iowa Senate Democrats — along with a few Republicans — are holding public meetings over the summer to hear concerns from Medicaid recipients and providers.
The state handed over its $5 billion Medicaid program with nearly 580,000 beneficiaries and 30,000 providers to three out-of-state insurers on April 1. Since the switch, the state has touted a relatively smooth transition with few disruptions and more than 300,000 claims already paid.
But legislators have fielded numerous calls and emails from Medicaid enrollees and providers, said Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids. The questions have focused on everything from getting a child an insulin pump to getting a ride home from the hospital, she said.
“Despite what the governor is saying, this transition has been very rocky,” Mathis said. “And people are growing increasingly frustrated with how sloppy things are being handled.”
Mathis said the listening posts are being held across the state through August, with the first one taking place in Marion on Tuesday, May 31. Each senator can design the meeting how they best see fit, she said, explaining she has invited representatives from the Iowa Department of Human Services and all three managed care organizations — or MCOs — to participate.
She plans to set up two “layers” for the meeting — the outer layer is to have MCO representatives set up with laptops to help solve any potential problems while the inner layer is for Mathis and others to hear experiences and frustrations with the transition.
“I want to make sure that when people come, they go home with answers,” she said.
Mathis also hopes to hold a Senate Human Resources Committee meeting in September with specific agenda items to discuss with officials from the MCOs and DHS.
“It’s very important that we keep this on the front burner,” she said.