Legislative News February 2015

Legislative news – 2/19/2015

February 19, 2015

Under the Golden Dome

It is two weeks to the first funnel deadline and action is heating up at the Capitol. Legislators are pushing to move their policy priorities through the process to survive for further consideration. A bill must have passed a committee in one chamber to remain alive. This does not apply to budget and tax bills or leadership bills.

IMHCA/IAMFT Joint Day on the Hill is scheduled for Monday, February 23. We are planning to meet at 1:30 at the Lucas cafeteria for a quick briefing before heading to the Capitol. We will focus on three issues: support for telehealth reimbursement parity, establishment of a mental health professionals loan forgiveness program and insurance reimbursement for those with temporary licenses.

Managed Care RFP Issued

The state issued the RFP for moving the Medicaid program to managed care. The state anticipates that this will generate significant savings to the state without diminishing services. The state projects a savings of $51 million in the first year. It is anticipated that the overall program will be administered by one entity but that entity can then subcontract out different portions. Mental health services, currently under managed care through Magellan, are included in the RFP. The RFP contains a provision that provides a 90-day transition of care window. During this time period, a patient may continue with his/her current provider and that physician would be reimbursed. In addition, the RFP contains a six-month protection for reimbursement at the current fee for service rate for provider. After six months, that protection is eliminated.

The state believes it has the authority to make this shift without legislative action although some legislators disagree. The focus of the majority, however, is the process that will be used, the method in which anticipated savings will be achieved and the degree to which services might be impacted. The state is holding a series of public meetings to answer questions and provide more information:

Wed. Feb. 25, 11:00-12:30: Public meeting in Davenport (at public library)

Tues. Mar. 3, 11:00-12:30: Public meeting in Cedar Rapids (Kirkwood campus)

Thurs. Mar. 5, 11:00-12:30: Public meeting in Council Bluffs (Iowa Western Comm. College)

Fri. Mar. 6, 10:00-11:30: Public meeting in Des Moines (Polk County River Place)

Bills of Interest

HF 218 – Telehealth Insurance Reimbursement: This bill was amended in subcommittee to remove the mandate on private insurers to provide reimbursement for telehealth services. That amendment, however, says that if a private insurer provides telehealth reimbursement, they are then required to cover the same codes they cover for in-person visits. The majority of insurers currently provide some degree of telehealth reimbursement. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill.

Submitted by: 

Emily Piper | emily@ialobbyresources.com

Piper Consulting Services

P.O. Box 12011 | Des Moines, Iowa 50312-2011

Phone: 515-202-7772 | Fax: 866-869-2842