DHS not tracking extra Medicaid benefits praised by Branstad

Terry Branstad

Terry Branstad

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has highlighted extra benefits under Iowa’s new Medicaid program to show the privatized system functions better than the former state-run setup, but the agency overseeing Medicaid acknowledges it knows little about how the so-called value-added services are working for patients.

The services range from waived gym membership fees to free cellphones.

After more than six months of the privately run system, there is limited data about how many people have used the value-added services and no information about whether the services are effective. The Department of Human Services says it’s not required to closely track them.

The setup highlights limitations in what the state must share about Iowa’s new Medicaid system. It also adds a layer of work for the public to access information about the services.