Monday Afternoon News, October 21
Iowa State Bank Wants To Merge Financial Charters
(Orange City) -- The Iowa State Bank of Hull is requesting a formal merger with the Iowa
State Bank of Remsen. Although the Iowa State Bank of Hull acquired the financial services
of what used to be known as the Farmers Savings Bank of Remsen a few years ago, known now,
and operating as the Iowa State Bank of Remsen, the two banks have been conducting business
under two different charters. However, according to LeRoy Van Kekerix, president and C.E.O
of the Iowa State Bank, a formal request has been submitted to the State Banking Commission
to merge the two financial charters into one.
Iowa State Bank has seven other locations with Orange City serving as the hub. Van Kekerix
says the other seven banks under the Iowa State Bank name are presently operating under one
charter. He says it will make business operations go a lot smoother.
The banking official says Remsen customers will be able to enjoy additional benefits, not presently being offered to them.
The Iowa Banking Commission has accepted the application, and is now receiving public
comments about the merger. Van Kekerix believes the merger application will be approved,
and the official merger will take place before December 31st.
Iowa Saves $41 Million In Medicare Fraud
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says an effort to reduce Medicaid claim errors
and fraud has saved Iowa $46 million in the last fiscal year. Branstad says over three
years the total savings is $86 million. He says that helps the state provide better care for
400,000 residents without reducing services or cutting rates paid to providers.
The state has a contract with Optum, a Minnesota company, to prevent fraudulent charges
and mistakes that would overbill the state. The company also works to ensure that the type
of care and services offered is the most efficient. Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds says most of
the savings came from catching errors and fraud in advance.
Cases of Medicaid fraud are being turned over to investigators in the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
In addition, the private company reviewing Iowa Medicaid claims has pushed for the purchase of medical equipment rather than long-term rental agreements which turn out to be more costly than buying the equipment in the first place. Jennifer Vermeer (ver-MEER) is the director of Iowa's Medicaid program.
State officials say there are about 20-thousand Medicaid providers in Iowa.
The company is being paid $14 million for a three-year contract. It will continue through fiscal year 2014 under a one-year optional extension of the contract that was based on performance.
Branstad Says Federal Deficit, Govt. Shutdown Hurt Job Recruitment Efforts
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says the federal government shutdown, health
care reform, and federal budget deficits make it harder to create jobs.
He says if the federal government would "get its act together and quit scaring people
and businesses" Iowa would be doing better at job creation.
When elected he promised to create 200,000 new jobs in five years. He sidestepped a
question Monday about whether he believes he's on track to fulfill that goal.
Branstad says the key to job creation is to convince more people to live in the state.
He told reporters in his weekly news conference he's planning on unveiling an ambitious
plan in the months ahead aimed at bringing more people to Iowa with the skills to fill new
jobs he's planning on creating.
EMT Has Criminal Record, But Public Health Department Say He Is Not A Risk To Public
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A northwest Iowa emergency medical technician has been convicted 23
times of state and federal crimes, but the Iowa Department of Public Health says he's little
risk to the public.
The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1gydbTJ ) Monday that the department's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services has certified Patrick Birgess as an emergency medical technician despite his extensive arrest record.
Between 1988 and 2004 he was convicted of crimes including drug possession, forgery, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct, identity theft and unlawful entry of a motor vehicle.
Public Health Department spokesman Ken Sharp says the agency believes "Birgess can practice with minimal risk to the public." He notes Birgess has no criminal convictions in nine years.
A telephone number for Birgess couldn't be located.