Workers’ comp moves to Senate
Iowa workers injured on the job would receive less medical care and benefits under a plan approved by Republican lawmakers in the Iowa House.
For around 100 years the Iowa's Workers' compensation law has acted to balance the rights of employers with those of employees. As part of the balance, if an employee is injured, they cannot sue the employer, and the employer will pay compensation benefits based on the type of injury the employee suffered while on the job.
The Republican bill, which is now being considered in the Iowa Senate, makes numerous changes to Iowa's Workers' compensation. In addition to limiting how long an injured worker can receive benefits, the bill reclassifies how a shoulder injury is compensated by moving the injury from a whole body injury to a scheduled injury. This eliminates an additional benefit an injured employee may have qualified for had the injury been classified as whole body.
Employers would also be required to take into account pre-existing conditions and past injuries in determining benefits for a new injury. Lastly, the bill no longer incentivizes employers to pay compensation benefits to injured employees on time. As a result, injured workers may have to wait years after they were injured on the job to receive compensation benefits.
These changes would take effect on July 1, 2017, and apply to injuries and claims filed after that date.
Headaches continue for medicaid privatization
A new dispute between one of the three for-profit companies managing the state's Medicaid program and one of the state's largest health care providers could soon leave 22,000 Iowans scrambling to find another health care provider.
After reporting millions in losses earlier this year, AmeriHealth Caritas has notified patients of the Mercy Health Network that they are having difficulty getting Mercy to agree to lower reimbursement rates for the services they provide to Iowans on Medicaid.
AmeriHealth has also informed providers that they will cut their pay for the services they provide to keep people in their home longer. As a result, many consumers will lose the services they need to stay at home, where they want to be.
Studies have shown keeping a person in their home longer is more cost effective than a person living in a twenty-four hour care facility.
Since it began a year ago, Iowa's Medicaid privatization has been plagued with trouble for patients and providers. Several health care providers have been forced to close their doors after lower reimbursement rates and delayed payments from the three for-profit companies now managing the state's Medicaid program. Last summer, the Governor even agreed to pay the private companies an additional $33 million due to them not making enough money.
– State Rep. Curt Hanson represents Iowa House District 82, which includes most of Jefferson County and Davis and Van Buren counties, in the state Legislature.