Iowa Home Care: “We’re at the breaking point”

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The CEO of Iowa Home Care, one of Iowa's largest in-home health care providers says IHC is at the breaking point.

"We're in a lot of financial turmoil."

Thursday morning, Kim Weber told her employees she may not be able to pay them because Managed Care Providers, hired by the State when Governor Branstad privatized Medicaid, owe IHC nearly a million dollars.

"We just don`t have the funds.   We're maxed out at the bank and we're waiting for some common sense to prevail at the statehouse."

Webers says the MCO's are denying payment for services already provided and already deemed medically necessary to hundreds of IHC clients - clients like Shelly Jaspering, a quadriplegic who relies on IHC for many of her daily needs.

"I'd lose my job.  I’d lose my house.  There is just a lot that could happen if someone doesn't come and get me out of bed in the morning,” Jaspering says.

IHC takes care of about 1100 people, many of them with severe disabilities, like quadriplegia, brain injuries and mental illness.

"Something very tragic is going to happen," says Weber.  "Somebody has to take care of them."

The problem is compounded by the State's refusal to pay IHC $1.2 million because of an investigation now nearly three years old.  Weber says she's met all of the State's requirements to remedy the situation, including a full review by an independent auditor.

"He did this audit for five months and concluded no material weaknesses."

Weber believes the State is playing with people's lives - the lives of her clients and her employees.

WEBER SAYS THE STATE IS PLAYING WITH PEOPLE'S LIVES - THE LIVES OF BOTH HER CLIENTS AND HER EMPLOYEES.

"We need paid for the services that we've provided that are medically necessary for the most vulnerable population in the state.  It`s not okay."

Weber applauds the Director of the Department of Human Services for considering a plan to exempt severely disabled Iowans from the MCO's.

When asked about IHC's other concerns, a spokesperson for DHS issued a written statement saying, "Yesterday's comments about a carve out were part of a laundry list of options available under managed care scenarios.  We remain committed to negotiating contracts with the three health plans that lead to higher quality care for members and a more sustainable program overall."