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Corridor Counties provide temporary Medicaid management

MGN Online

AmeriHealth coverage ends November 30th for about 215,000 Iowans receiving Medicaid.

Many of these recipients will be transferred to coverage by the managed care organization UnitedHealthcare.

367 of those Medicaid recipients are in Linn county but UnitedHealthcare doesn't have the staff ready to take on this load.

Now Linn County and Johnson County have agreed to provide temporary case management for a period of 30 days while United Health works to hire and train new staff.

The agreements can be extended if UnitedHealthcare still needs more time.

Linn County Supervisor, Ben Rogers, says he’s worried that this transition will ultimately have a negative impact on Medicaid recipients.

"Our Case Managers at Linn County have a much smaller load than say a managed care organization and they have a lot more intimate knowledge about the consumer and a lot more direct contact than a manage care organization and we also don't have a profit motivation,” says Rogers. “So there's a lot more services and attention paid,” he adds.

The transition to privatized case managers is also having an impact on county workers.

Mental Health and Developmental Disability Services Coordinator, Maggie Beavers says 15 county case managers, or about half their staff have left since the Medicaid system was privatized.

Now when the transition is complete many others may need to do the same.

Johnson county staff is seeing a similar reduction.

"We haven't had to actually lay anybody off but we've had a number of people simply choose to go other places which has frankly saved us from having to lay people off,” says Johnson County Supervisor, Rod Sullivan. “At one time I thank the most case managers we ever had was about 25 and were probably at about 10 right now,” concludes Sullivan.

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