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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 31, 2004

Medicaid Crisis Intervention Team To Meet In Dubuque Sept. 10

The Medical Assistance Crisis Intervention Team (MACIT) examining Medicaid costs in the face of tight state revenues will meet in Dubuque from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, in the auditorium of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library.

The public is invited to attend and comment. Public comment periods are planned from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 to 3 p.m. Materials presented to the MACIT team at its previous meetings in Ottumwa and Sioux City are available at the publications section of the Department of Human Services web site http://www.dhs.state.ia.us/publications.asp.

Among the topics to be addressed will be recommendations by the Department of Human Services to reduce costs or provide revenue enhancements to reduce projected Medicaid costs by at least $130 million in the next fiscal year. In addition, MACIT will discuss the estimated cost of the Medicaid program through 2008 that was presented at its Aug. 2 meeting in Sioux City.

MACIT was created by legislation approved earlier this year by the Iowa General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Tom Vilsack because of the escalating cost of the Medicaid program in the face of constrained state revenues.

Medicaid is a program that pays for medical assistance for individuals and families with low incomes and resources. The program became law in 1965 and is jointly funded by the federal and state governments to assist states in providing medical and long-term care assistance to people who meet certain eligibility criteria.

Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income. In fiscal year 2004-05, Medicaid expenditures in Iowa are expected to be nearly $2 billion, of which $568 million will come from the state. The federal government will fund the remainder in the current fiscal year, but changes are being contemplated for the level of federal funding that will be provided in the future. These changes include possible elimination of the use of intergovernmental transfers that allow states to leverage additional federal dollars.

After gathering information and public opinion about the medical assistance program, by Dec. 1, MACIT will submit a report to the General Assembly that includes projections of costs for the Medicaid program through June 30, 2008.  The initial source of these projections will be the Iowa Department of Human Services. MACIT may also provide recommendations on services, eligibility, rates, care management and program administration.

During the meetings there will be a discussion of issues affecting Iowa's Medicaid program as well as time for the team to receive public comment. Drop boxes will be provided at the meeting location for individuals who do not wish to speak publicly or who want to comment anonymously. In addition, comments may be e-mailed to medicaid-publiccomment@uiowa.edu or mailed to: Medicaid Public Comment, 105 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242.

"I hope that anyone who has an idea about the future of Medicaid will take the opportunity to come to one of the meetings or provide their comments via e-mail or regular mail," said UI President David Skorton, the committee chair. "This is a problem that affects every Iowan, so we need Iowans' help in crafting the appropriate responses."

Skorton, a cardiologist, is co-founder and co-director of the UI Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Other members of the Medical Assistance Crisis Intervention Team and their alternates are:

-- Dana Holland, Ottumwa, president of the Iowa Health Care Association. Alternate: Steve Ackerson, West Des Moines, IHCA executive director.

-- Thomas (TJ) Johnsrud, Conrad, past president of the Iowa Pharmacy Association. Alternate: Cheryl Clark, Des Moines, IPA senior vice president for Advanced Practice Development.

-- Jerry Karbeling, Des Moines, chair of the Medical Assistance Advisory Council. Alternate: Mark Peltan, Mason City, MAAC co-chair.

-- Donna Katen-Bahensky, Iowa City, director and CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

-- C. James Platt, Fort Madison, chair of the Iowa Hospital Association.  Alternate: J. Kirk Norris, Des Moines, IHA president.

-- Stephen Richards, D.O., Algona, president-elect of the Iowa Medical Society.  Alternate: Charles Helms, M.D., Iowa City, IMS president.

-- Debbie Spencer, Des Moines, Positive Alternatives To Hospitalization (PATH) Program, Broadlawns Medical Center.

-- Craig Syata, Urbandale, executive director of the Iowa Association of Community Providers. Alternate: Bob Hebl, Hiawatha, IACP president.

-- Mike Teachout, West Des Moines, member of the Federation of Iowa Insurers. Alternate: Bob Wilcox, Bettendorf, member of the FII.

Meetings will be held later this year in Mason City, Red Oak and Des Moines.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.