Late last month, the Iowa State Department of Health and Human Services issued the First Medicaid Modernization Quarterly Report and although the new system has only been in place for three months, early data has shown a successful transition.
I have learned Iowa’s Medicaid system is a $5 billion enterprise and impacts more than 500,000 citizens. So, the move from a state run system to administration by three independent managed care organizations brought some anxiety to those who questioned whether it was in the best interest of the state. Some critics speculated patients would have a hard time finding quality care and others wondered if the shift would take a toll on health care providers.
I also have learned in the last three months, more than 22,000 extremely high risk Medicaid patients with chronic illnesses were assigned a health care coordinator and 155,000 new patients were given health risk assessments. Patients have access to about twice as many doctors as before and the three managed care organizations are tracking nearly 1,000 measurable health outcomes. As for provider payments, the three health plans have exceeded the contractual expectation that 90 percent of payment claims be paid within 14 days.
Medical modernization is good for Iowa. It is providing better care and more choices for Iowa patients and this cannot be said of the old Medicaid system.