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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Gubernatorial candidate visits HCHC

May 15, 2018
Photo by: Submitted Dr. Andy McGuire

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Andy McGuire, visited HCHC Monday to discuss her health care plan, which includes 17 pages on mental health reform, an issue close to her heart.

McGuire, a Waterloo native, earned her medical degree from Creighton University in 1978 and her MBA in business administration from Kennesaw State University in 2001. After receiving her degree, McGuire became a chief medical officer and later medical director of Wellmark Insurance. In 2012 she became president of Meridian of Iowa, a Medicaid company. She stayed in this position for three years before leaving to become the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committe. She served until 2016 when she announced her run for the governor’s seat.

Chief executive officer of HCHC, Robb Gardner, said he was looking forward to the opportunity because it allowed for a chance to discuss bills that are directly impacting the facility.

Gardner began the meeting by explaining how current bills have effected the funding of rural hospitals. “The challenge is we’re here to provide for our community,” he said. “No one else provides it, we’re it.”

Currently, Van Buren, Washington and Centerville have closed their obstetrics services due to lack of funding but HCHC has been able to remain open. Gardner explained the federal government has passed the funding problems to the state who have in turn passed them to local government who are struggling to have funds matched. McGuire agreed the issue is larger than the state and believes Medicaid is the problem.

“I’m for doing a different deal with Medicaid,” she said. “I think there are places for managed care in Medicaid, the problem is that this has gotten so bad, I think you have to bring it into the state.”

She would like to see a Medicaid reform to help bring revenue back into the state of Iowa. Along with this reform, her plan introduces mental health care back into the system. She feels the current mental health care system is not efficient. The lack of facilities and wait times to see providers has proved to be a problem for patients.

She gave an example of a patient in Fairfield who had to wait 13 days in a safe bed until a room at a mental health facility in Minnesota opened up. The patient then needed to be transported by the police, which caused the area to be short an officer and tax payers to fund the trip for the patient.

“We’re already paying for it, we’re just not paying for it in a very efficient manner at all,” she said. Instead McGuire would like to see the number of treatment facilities as well as beds boosted in order to reach everyone effected.

“It’s personal to me,” she said about mental health care. “With that thought, then let’s take care of our friends, neighbors and family members.”

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