Incentives program could face cutting board

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The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals could scrap an incentives program for nursing homes – despite a 96% success rate, according to a former member of the Iowa House.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals is seeking an end to the incentive payments because minor loopholes and imperfections have allowed 16 (out of 425) Iowa nursing homes to receive incentive payments at the same time that they're being fined for various infractions. That is according to William Witt in a submission to The Des Moines Register newspaper. Witt served 10 years in the Iowa House and was a principal author of Medicaid reforms in 2001.

Still, “An Iowa Department of Human Services working group, the Iowa Council on Human Services, the federal Medicaid Centers, plus a team of independent analysts have all concluded that the program is efficient and effective,” he wrote. The program, which is designed to give Iowa nursing homes additional Medicaid reimbursements in exchange for improved quality of care, was introduced in 2001. It was part of a plan to cut administrative costs, close reimbursement loopholes and give more money to direct-care providers for training and benefits, according to Witt.

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