54,000 Medicaid Patients Could Lose Access to Care at UnityPoint Facilities

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  UnityPoint Health says 54,000 patients whose care is managed by Amerigroup of Iowa could lose access to UnityPoint facilities at the next year due to a contract dispute.

Amerigroup is one of two companies that privately manage Iowa's Medicaid program.  Its contract with UnityPoint expires on December 31st, 2017.  The two are engaged in a contract renegotiation right now but a deal hasn't been reached.  Today UnityPoint began notifying 54,000 Amerigroup members that they will no longer be able to continue care at UnityPoint facilities beginning April 1st, 2018 if a new contract is not reached.

In the metro that would mean no more access to ongoing care at Methodist, Lutheran, and Blank Children's Hospitals as well as other clinics.  UnityPoint facilities in Fort Dodge and Marshalltown would also be included as would every UnityPoint hospital in the state.

UnityPoint released a statement Wednesday explaining why it is warning patients now.  It reads in part:

"“We are disappointed that our contract issues with Amerigroup are not yet resolved and know the announcement of a possible change may cause confusion for our Amerigroup patients.  We feel an obligation to inform our patients now about this possible change so they can begin to think about what’s best for them and their families if the change occurs.”