Health

Medicaid payment issue resolved quickly

600 providers affected by 'unintentional administrative error'

The cover page of an application for health coverage, which includes Medicaid, photographed at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. Generally the application is filled out electronically. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
The cover page of an application for health coverage, which includes Medicaid, photographed at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. Generally the application is filled out electronically. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

A delay in Medicaid funding to approximately 600 health care providers statewide was quickly resolved earlier this week.

Last Thursday, UnitedHealthcare of the River Valley learned an administrative error delayed payments to the some 600 providers who receive direct funding through a Medicaid program called Consumer Choices Option.

“We worked rapidly to resolve this situation, and by Monday the payroll processing for all care providers was completed,” according to a statement emailed to The Gazette. “UnitedHealthcare also will cover any additional costs associated with the delay in payments.”

The insurer — one of two managed-care organization administering Iowa’s Medicaid coverage — emphasized it was not a denial of services under the program, but “an unintentional administrative error,” the statement said.

The Consumer Choices Option is under the home- and community-based services waiver of Medicaid and gives Iowans control over a specific funding amount that can be used to hire support staff or purchase other goods and services to care for a Medicaid member.

Under this program, members can hire relatives, friends or other independent individuals of their choice to provide care.

The error affected those who receive payments for their services through Veridian Fiscal Solutions, a division of Veridian Credit Union that partnered with Iowa Medicaid Enterprises to be the Financial Management Service provider for the Consumer Choices Option program.

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Amy Holcomb, 50, of North Liberty, said her daughter’s four providers were impacted by the error and did not receive their paychecks for March 1-15.

Her daughter Cynthia, 25, who is autistic and has an intellectual disability, lives alone in a Coralville apartment. The four providers who offer assistance every day allow Cynthia to live independently, Holcomb said.

“I don’t know what she’d do without the (Consumer Choices Option) program,” Holcomb said. “It’s important for her to have that so she can be independent.”

But last month the payments didn’t make it to the staff members’ banks account, and Holcomb received an email from Veridian on the issue Wednesday evening.

The payments arrived by Monday, she said.

“It was a relief to know (UnitedHealthcare) took it seriously and worked to correct the problem,” Holcomb said.

Affected members and providers can contact UnitedHealthcare at 1-800-464-9484.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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