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YOUR STORIES MATTERED IN MANAGED CARE DEBATE

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If you missed the debate on the Medicaid Managed Care Program Integrity and Oversight (SF 2213), you might consider going back and watching it. While the debate was long, it was passionate and full of personal stories shared by legislators. Many of you have wondered if your contacts matter, and if your stories are being heard.  Legislators do commonly re-tell stories they have heard from constituents during debate, and the debate over managed care is a really good example of this.

Here are a few quotes from Senators during the debate:

"It is critically important for each of us to remember all of those constituents who talked to you, that have shared their concerns, to hold the people who are going to be dealing with this accountable."  Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Cerro Gordo)

"This is the day for 560,000 Iowans. It's not about us, it's about them...One thing I know, it's important to listen." Senator David Johnson (R-Osceola)

"We've heard from the people. We've held listening posts and oversight meetings. Last week we heard heart-wrenching stories of children and adults and families who will be upside down in all of this for months if not years to come...We have a chance to hold the managed care organizations accountable to protect the Iowans who rely on us for help."  Senator Liz Mathis (D-Linn)

"Last year I had a group of people up here from Easter Seals and Candeo and I tried to take a little extra time and bring them on the floor.  And I was asked by many of those people about this managed care system.  I told them that I would not support this managed care system.  I currently believe and have confidence in the Department of Human Services to make sure those important services are provided to the most vulnerable people...I've been very clear when we've talked about mental health and the facilities we have shut down...We are all blessed in this room.  And I tell you what, if you ever had an experience such as what my wife and I have had in regards to mental health, it's a little different. It opens your eyes...I ask my colleagues to think about the people that are most dependent on this service."  Senator Brad Zaun (R-Polk)

"I live in the nightmare as a parent. I also now have an additional duty as a legislator, and I can assure you I have had others in this chamber, clerks, state troopers, have come to me and said thank you. Thank you for standing up for my kids that have autism. Thank you for standing up for my kids with intellectual disabilities." Senator Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque)

"I have a face that I want you to think about.  Alot of my constituents that have been contacting me throughout this experience..but I'll talk to you about the one I know the most about. He's my nephew.  When he was 19 he was in the wrong situation at the wrong time, and he was shot.  The bullet exploded in his spine, and he knew he was paralyzed from the neck down.  When I think of him in that situation, he was then just like he is now, very positive, a thinker, always trying to make things better. So he said to the emergency people... 'Calm down, I'm going to be okay, you guys just gotta do your job.'  And that's the way he's been ever since. You know the rest of us get excited, get worried...Now I look at this situation and I hear Tucker's voice.  You guys gotta calm down, and do you jobs.  Today we have a job to do."   Senator Rita Hart (D-Clilnton)

"Let's talk about how ready we are for this....I have a constituent from Council Bluffs.  She's choosing an MCO for her adult child, wondering specifically if Catholic Health Initiatives (Mercy hospital) had signed with each MCO. She asked me to check for her. (From his staff): I had a terrible time, went to the IME website and found web portals for each of the MCOs.  United's wouldn't let me in.  Said there was an error in development. AmeriHealth found CHI Mercy easy. AmeriGroup, many steps...it finally gave me a list of 69 providers, when I filtered for hospitals, no hospital.  I didn't feel confident that I had found accurate information, so I called the number for Medicaid. First time got cut off. Second time got a message about high call volume and a hang up.  Then got a message to call the 800 #.  First time I pushed one for English and got a dial tone.  Second time I pushed one for English and got the fast busy tone.  Then got through to someone, who told me to go to the website and check the portals for provider ists.  Then called a person at DHS who said she would call member services for me.  She called back after not getting a human either, since somebody was on vacation.  She said someone from provider services would call me. I then called a lobbyist who called Mercy Council Bluffs directly and found out they were only signing with AmeriHealth.  Does that sound to anybody in this room like they are ready? It doesn't sound like it to me...We have to stand up for the patients and the providers in this state."  Senator Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs)

You can watch the debate from your computers, smart phones, and tablets here (fast forward the tape to 10:44 am).