Health

Iowa Hospital Association spokesman fired after criticizing Gov. Reynolds for Medicaid 'mess' in Facebook post

An Iowa Hospital Association official was fired earlier this year for a Facebook post blaming Gov. Kim Reynolds for Iowa’s Medicaid “mess,” according to documents obtained by The Gazette.

Scott McIntyre, vice president of communications for the Iowa Hospital Association, was dismissed from his position on March 29 “for conduct not in the best interests of the employer,” according to Iowa Workforce Development documents related to his unemployment hearing.

McIntyre’s employment was terminated on March 29. He had been an employee of the association, which represents all the hospitals in the state, for 18 years.

The Iowa Hospital Association declined to comment.

Earlier in March, McIntyre responded to a co-worker’s Facebook post describing Iowa’s Medicaid program as a “big mess,” according to the administrative law judge’s decision. He agreed with the co-worker, and blamed the “mess” of the state’s managed care system on the governor.

According to the documents, McIntyre “wrote in a satirical, President Donald Trump manner.”

The documents did not identify the co-worker.

The $5 billion program, which provides health insurance for more than 600,000 poor and disabled Iowans, is currently handled by private insurance companies.

Reynolds and other state officials overseeing the program say privatization is a more cost-effective, efficient method to administer care to Iowa’s Medicaid members.

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Since the program switched from a state-run program to managed care in 2016, it has faced sharp criticism from members and providers. Patients said necessary services were limited or cut altogether, and providers complained of inadequate or even incorrect reimbursements from the companies that ran the managed-care program.

In addition, the managed-care organizations that handle the program have been in flux. In March, UnitedHealthcare became the latest company to announce it planned to depart, citing underfunding and other challenges to its sustainability.

McIntyre was called into a meeting with Iowa Hospital Association officials on March 21 and directed to write a formal apology.

Members of the association complained about the co-worker’s and McIntyre’s Facebook post.

According to documents, McIntyre “knew that (Iowa Hospital Association) members were upset about the Medicaid issue. He also knew some members thought the governor was to blame for the situation with Medicaid and others did not.”

McIntyre won his unemployment appeal earlier this month, and a state administrative judged granted him unemployment benefits.

The Iowa Hospital Association did not provide evidence that McIntyre intended to cause harm to his employer, as the association’s representatives did not participate in the hearing.

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

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