Governor Terry Branstad.

Governor Terry Branstad.

Governor Terry Branstad says there’s no need to delay his Medicaid managed care plan due to last week’s recommendation that the contract with one of the private companies be terminated.

“I see no reason for (a delay),” Bransad says. “The initial idea was we would have from two to four, so if the administrative law judge’s preliminary recommendation is adopted, we could move forward with the three.”

Last Wednesday afternoon, an administrative law judge in the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals said the state should cancel its contract with WellCare, one of four private companies hired to manage care for 600-thousand Iowa Medicaid patients starting January 1. That decision will be reviewed by the director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services.

The Medicaid patients as well as the Iowa doctors, hospitals and other health care providers who have signed a contract with WellCare are getting this advice from the governor: “They could sign up with the other three or any one of the other three and so there’s plenty of opportunity and that was the way this was designed, to give people choice and to have a number of…contractors that would be handling the managed care.”

Branstad does not have an idea when his Department of Administrative Services director may complete her review of the case and decide whether WellCare is in or out of the mix. Medicaid managed care in Iowa is to start January 1, but the state still needs to obtain a federal waiver for the program as well. Managed care for mentally ill patients is to start July 1st and there’s a two-year phase in for Medicaid patients in nursing homes.