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Ragan: Identifying “fraud and abuse” i Medicaid system is important

From Sen. Amanda Ragan –

Senator Amanda Ragan
Senator Amanda Ragan

Much of this legislative session has focused on expanding access to affordable health care to more Iowans through Medicaid. As we work toward that goal, we’re also working to lower costs.

Most Medicaid providers are honest, hardworking health care professionals, but preventing fraud and abuse is a critical part of every important program. That watchdog function will improve this this year with the Legislature’s approval of Senate File 357. It provides more tools that the Department of Human Services can use to identify fraud and abuse, collect overpayments, and assess civil penalties.

This is a key part of making sure Iowans have access to quality, affordable healthcare at the lowest possible cost.

We’re also looking at ways to control costs related to Alzheimer’s disease. It is one of the most under-recognized public health crises of the 21st century.

More than 69,000 Iowans have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia and the fifth leading cause of death in Iowa. As our state’s population ages, it’s likely that all Iowans will be impacted by this disease at some point in their lives.

Caring for Alzheimer’s patients can be expensive. Payments for care nationwide in 2012 were estimated at $200 billion. That dollar figure is expected to increase to $1.1 trillion by 2050 if nothing is done.

The Senate approved SF 269, directing the Iowa Department of Public Health to develop a comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease response strategy. The goals include collecting and analyzing data on the disease, doing more to inform and educate Iowans, improving effectiveness and access to treatment, and maintaining affordability.

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