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Medicaid and medical cannabidiol: BWK Statehouse News

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” — Plato

Medicaid privatization delayed again
The Governor’s plan to privatize Medicaid is still not ready, so federal officials delayed implementation to April 1. The federal agency has given final approval on the privatization plan. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stated that Iowa needs another delay to complete implementation activities.

As a result of the delay, the privatization will begin on April 1, 2016, and Medicaid members will have until June 16, 2016 to change their MCO for any reason. For providers, each MCO must contract with any willing provider for physical and behavioral health services until September 30, 2016; and for long-term care services until March 31, 2018.

An important fact to remember about Medicaid privatization: With our current system Iowa Medicaid Enterprise (IME) runs our Medicaid program with an administrative costs of 4-5%. The MCOs will between 12-15% admin costs. We will not be saving money on privatization unless services are cut or providers (doctors, residential facilities etc) are paid less.

Please share your stories with me. I will pass along any problems you are having with Medicaid and representatives from DHS have promised to follow-up on them immediately.

CMS will continue to monitor Iowa’s transition to managed care. For questions,
Medicaid members should contact at IME Member Services, 1-800-338-8366, IMEMemberServices@dhs.state.ia.us. Medicaid providers should contact IME Provider Services: 1-800-338-7909, IMEProviderCommunications@dhs.state.ia.us.

Medical cannabidiol passes committee
Today, a 12 year old with Chrohn’s disease may need to take cancer causing drugs to control the disease. Medical cannabidol could control the disease without the long-tern cancer causing effects. I support allowing Iowan’s to use cannabidol oil to treat epilepsy or seizure disorders, AIDS or HIV, Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, any terminal illness, and intractable pain.

Iowa’s current medical cannabidiol law is limited and provides no relief to the Iowans who are suffering from debilitating diseases. This year, the Legislature is looking at expanding the law that was enacted in 2014 to make the medicine accessible. Under the proposal that passed out of the Commerce Committee, the list of eligible conditions a person must have to obtain medical cannabidiol includes the short list of intractable epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and cancer, if the patient has less than one year to live. Current law only allows for intractable epilepsy.

The bill allows any licensed physician in Iowa to recommend medical cannabidiol for a patient if they qualify. Under current law, only a licensed neurologist may make a recommendation on medical cannabidiol. The bill also allows for two companies to obtain a license to manufacture and dispense medical cannabidiol in Iowa. The company must pay for all laboratory testing done by the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa, and the dispensary must be open for business by July 1, 2017.

The bill prohibits smoking and vaping cannabidiol. Although this bill is an improvement to the 2014 legislation, it still leaves many Iowans unnecessarily suffering and using much more powerful and harmful pharmaceuticals to treat or control their disease/condition.  



On February 24, 2016, Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell
met with a group from the Veterinary Medicine Program
at Iowa State University during their visit to the State Capitol.


Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell met with her relatives
veternarian Ken May and his son Will on Wednesday, February 24, 2016.


Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell welcomed a group
from the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
(Lindsay Wiese, Macy Mears, and Lyndi Buckingham)
to the State Capitol on February 24, 2016.

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