Health agency defends position

A private home health provider responded Friday to a report that its Fort Dodge sub-unit would lose its Medicare support this month.

The public was notified in a legal ad published Nov. 8 in The Messenger that the Medicare program would not pay for post-hospital extended care for Iowa Home Care LLC’s clients after Nov. 25.

But Charles Ganske, the West Des Moines-based company’s chief business development officer, said the legal notice is protocol related to perceived deficiences that he said were computer software issues and management communication processes, and that a plan to resolve those issues is being filed.

He said his company would continue offering uninterrupted services to its clients.

“We dispute the findings, but we’re fully cooperating,” Ganske said Friday, “and we fully anticipate alleviating their concerns.

“If you were a client it would be reasonable that you would know that your care will continue,” he added, “that there will not be an interruption in their care.”

An Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals audit of the Fort Dodge sub-unit, which serves Webster, Hamilton, Calhoun, Pocahontas, Humboldt, Wright, Hancock, Kossuth and Palo Alto counties, found Iowa Home Care LLC “is not in substantial compliance with Medicare regulations for Home Health Agencies,” according to the published legal notice.

Ganske said that language is “misleading.”

He called the legal notice, issued by Jennifer King, branch manager of the Medicare Survey, Certification & Enforcement Branch’s Kansas City Regional Office, “standard protocol.”

Kari Prescott, director of the Webster County Health Department and Environmental Health, said Thursday, “In the event that Iowa Home Care LLC is terminated from Medicare as a home health agency, the Webster County Health Department is prepared to accept clients who would like to receive services from our agency. We are also working with UnityPoint at Home, Elderbridge and other community partners to coordinate a smooth transition for the citizens of Webster County.

The published Medicare notice alerts Iowa Home Care’s clients to the possibility that they would have to pay for services themselves after Nov. 25 if they received care from that provider.

“The Medicare program will not make payment for post-hospital extended care services furnished to patients who are admitted after November 25, 2013,” the legal ad states. “For patients whose plan of care was established on November 25, 2013, or earlier, payment may continue for up to 30 days of post-hospital extended care services furnished after November 25, 2013.”

Ganske offered reassurance.

“We apologize to any of our clients” who may have experienced alarm from the notice, he said.

“The issues were never about care,” Ganske added.

Iowa Home Care LLC has branches in Boone, Marshalltown and Pella, as well as sub-units in Ottumwa and Fort Dodge.

Its Fort Dodge site is located at 1325 First Ave. S.