Iowa: Providers seek seat on Medicaid council

Friday, February 24, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - Home medical equipment providers are a step closer to getting a voice in Iowa Medicaid issues. 

A bill heading to the floor of the state House would expand the Medical Assistance Advisory Council (MAAC) from 40 seats to 42 seats--one of which would be earmarked for an HME provider. 

"Hopefully we will have a permanent place at the Medicaid table," said Terry Flatt, Iowa state chairman for the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) and executive vice president of Hammer Medical Supply in Des Moines. 

Once passed, the bill will go to the Senate, where a similar measure--minus the HME provision--passed last session, but died in the House.

That gave providers a chance to lobby for including HME this time around. Those efforts paid off after a Jan. 24 breakfast, hosted by providers and attended by more than 50 lawmakers. Later that day, a state representative amended the bill to add HME. 

It just goes to show how important it is for providers to be heard, said Flatt. He pointed to the success of providers in Missouri, who, through their position on that state's Medicaid advisory board, helped to create a money-saving oxygen policy.

"They were able to help shape policy for their state," said Flatt.