Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Morthland Calls on Governor to Take Action on Medicaid Reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:12

Moline, IL… State Representative Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) is encouraging residents to join him by signing an online petition that calls on the Governor to implement, without delay, the bi-partisan Medicaid reform package enacted earlier this year. One of the key components of the SMART Act is increased scrutiny of Medicaid eligibility standards.

“Previous and current administrations have failed to take the necessary steps to remove people from the Medicaid program who may have enrolled when eligible, and then became ineligible for various reasons such as finding a job, an increased household income, or the aging out of a child,” explained Morthland. “By removing these individuals who no longer qualify from the rolls, it is estimated to save taxpayers hundreds of millions.”

The reform package contains tight timeframes for the procurement of an eligibility verification vendor. While the initial requirements have been met, it was revealed last week that the contracted vendor, Maximus Health Services, does not anticipate starting the reviews until January 2013.

“The entire Fiscal Year 13 budget framework relies on the timely and efficient implementation of the reforms. The selected vendor has previous experience that would allow for an expedited timeframe.  If eligibility verification is delayed a full six months into FY13, funding will be jeopardized to those in our community who truly need it.”

Morthland is encouraging residents to visit today and sign the petition urging Governor Quinn to end the delay.


In Iowa’s Interest: Taking Action to End Hunger PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:11
By Senator Tom Harkin

Iowa is the world’s breadbasket, yet surprisingly, food insecurity is a problem that affects one out of every eight people living in our state.  And Iowa is not alone; according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture some 50 million people living in the U.S. face hunger.

September is Hunger Action Month –– designed to bring awareness to widespread hunger in America and a good time to volunteer your time in the local community to help end hunger.   The Food Bank of Iowa has teamed up with Feeding America for “30 Ways in 30 Days” – a calendar of ideas for one good deed a day to help solve this pressing problem.   Any one of the “30 Ways” is an opportunity for us to make a difference in the lives of Iowans who face hunger – including the one in five children across the state, at risk of not having enough to eat.

While all of these ideas are things we can do on our own, there are plenty of ways to get involved with a group as well.  Donating excess food from your community garden, or including your employer’s donation match form along with your contribution to your local pantry, food bank, or shelter are small actions that can go a long way toward helping your neighbors put food on their tables.  If you are a business owner, make sure to sign up your business to be a part of the 2012 Combat Hunger food drive November 15th and 16th in Des Moines.

You can start with simple things like wearing orange in honor of Hunger Action Month, reading a book about hunger to bring awareness to this national crisis, volunteering at your local shelter or soup kitchen, or trying to feed your entire family for a day on only$7 – the average daily food stamp benefit for a family.

As the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, I have been fortunate enough to lead the efforts to enact the 2002 and 2008 farm bills. These bills and other initiatives expanded food support to millions of Americas by ensuring access to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, school meals, child and adult food programs, and food assistance for disaster relief. I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish, but our work is far from over.

As Iowans, we have a unique gift to come together and support each other. Hunger Action Month presents the perfect opportunity to do just that.  So look up your closest food bank and see how you can help, or go online to to check out the “30 Ways in 30 Days” calendar to help stop hunger now.

A PDF version of this article can be found here.

Braley Announces Nearly $100,000 to Combat Medicare Fraud in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:08

Waterloo, IA – Today, Representative Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced that the Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging, Inc. has been awarded $99,957 from the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging’s Senior Medical Patrol Capacity Building Grant. The agency is located in Waterloo.

“Protecting Iowa seniors from fraudulent claims and inaccurate information is important to ensuring Medicare funds are going to the right people, at the right amount,” Braley said. “These funds will go towards educating seniors and helping Iowans protect themselves from fraud.”

The grant will assist the agency in helping Iowa seniors combat Medicare fraud by recruiting and training retired professionals and other senior citizens about how to recognize and report instances or patterns of health care fraud. The knowledge helps them to protect themselves from the economic and health-related consequences of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, error and abuse.

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Braley's Plain Language in Health Insurance Act Goes into Effect Today PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 07:53

Waterloo, IA – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced that his “Plain Language in Health Insurance Act” is going into effect. The bill requires health insurers to write healthcare documents in simple, easy-to-understand language. The goal of the act is to lower costs and cut confusion for insurance consumers.

The Plain Language in Health Insurance Act was originally introduced on June 25, 2009, and was incorporated as part of the Affordable Care Act.

In the bill, publicly distributed material issued by health insurance providers must be written in plain language. As of today, health insurers are required to provide consumers with a standard template outlining benefits and costs in easy-to-understand language. For an example of the template that must be used by insurance companies, see

Documents written in plain language result in significant cost savings for organizations who implement the changes, and are easier for everyone, young and old, to understand.


“For the average person, trying to decipher an insurance company’s prescription drug formulary or shopping for health insurance in comparative brochures is incredibly confusing and difficult,” said Braley. “That is why providing clear, plain information to all of our citizens is important to help Iowans make smarter choices about their health insurance, as well as keep healthcare costs down for everyone. This is a common sense approach that is being implemented at a low-cost with high savings.”


Braley also wrote and introduced The Plain Writing Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The law requires government agencies to write forms and other public documents in simple, easy-to-understand language. In July, Braley joined with the Center for Plain Language to unveil the first-ever “Plain Language Report Card” and continues to implement easy to understand writings across government agencies.

The Federal Plain Language Guidelines provide an outline for these best practices. According to the guidelines, plain language documents should, for example:

  • Use short, simple words
  • Use “you” and other pronouns to speak directly to readers
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs
  • Avoid legal, foreign, and technical jargon
  • Avoid double negatives

For a full description of the Federal Plain Language Guidelines, see

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Iowa Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Joyce David   
Thursday, 20 September 2012 08:02
The Iowa Mission of Mercy is rapidly approaching, and we are very excited about our two-day free dental clinic in Davenport on October 5-6 at the RiverCenter. A couple of thoughts:
  • We have an urgent need for interpreters.  Each year, Iowa MOM has a number of non-English speaking patients, and we need help communicating with them. We could use a wide variety of volunteers including those who speak Spanish, French, Vietnamese, as well African languages.
  • We have a number of local dentists including Dr. Mary Mariani and Dr. Kyle Gagliardo are available to talk about the event, the patients we serve, as well as past experiences.
Volunteers are desperately needed to help out with the Fifth Annual Iowa Mission of Mercy (Iowa MOM), which is a free dental clinic held in Davenport in early October.  There are two types of volunteers needed. 
1. Professional volunteers including dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants.  
2. Lay volunteers to help take groups of patients from one area toanother.  Duties may include serving food or help check patients in or out.
Plus, there is ahuge need for translators.  There is a sign-up form on the Iowa Dental Association website.
As you are probably aware,  the Fifth Annual Iowa Mission of Mercy, free dental clinic will be held Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6 at the River Center in Davenport.  Clinic hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.   The Iowa MOM is a two-day free dental clinic for any child or adult that needs dental services, regardless of income or previous dental history.  Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis, so individuals are encouraged to arrive early and expect long lines.
FYI: Usually people will wait in line overnight for dental treatment, but the line is not allowed to form until 5 p.m. on Oct. 4. 

Here is the link to the Iowa Dental Association website:

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