IA Health Link Success Stories

IA Health Link is a Managed Care program that works to make sure members get the health care that they need. Here are some of their stories.

UnitedHealthcare Goes 'Above and Beyond' for the Special Olympics Iowa Community

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) was named "Outstanding Corporate Partner of the Year" by Special Olympics Iowa for its financial and volunteer support of nearly 15,000 athletes in their quest for better health.
UHC's strong history with Special Olympics Iowa began as a Gold Level Sponsor before becoming a Premier Statewide Partner in 2016. Through its Statewide Partner opportunity, UHC contributed to: Special Olympics Iowa competitions, including: bowling, equestrian, flag football, Mid-Winter Tournament, softball, Summer Games, volleyball, and Winter Games.
"UHC has continued to go above and beyond for the Special Olympics Iowa community by continuing to create ways to educate Special Olympics Iowa athletes about health and wellness. UHC employees love to come out and volunteer and support our athletes and the athletes love being able to interact with them and are eager to continue their health education. UHC volunteers' support goes beyond cheering our athletes on in competition," stated John Kliegl, President and CEO, Special Olympics Iowa.
Additionally, UHC offered Special Olympic athletes with hearing screenings and education about nutrition, safety and fitness to create an overall healthy lifestyle as part of its Healthy Athlete Initiative. This initiative also included:
  • Special Smiles: Offered athletes oral screening, oral health education, personal preventative products, free giveaways and information concerning necessary follow-up care by community-based dentists and educational institutions;
  • Opening Eyes: Athletes received extensive vision and eye tests, refraction's for those requiring further screening, prescription glasses (free to the athletes), prescription protective sports eye wear (free to the athletes), free giveaways and referral advice for follow-up care;
  • FUNfitness: The purposes of Special Olympics FUNfitness are to assess and improve flexibility, strength and balance; to educate athletes, coaches, families and caregivers about the importance of flexibility, strength and balance; and to provide a hands-on opportunity for Special Olympics athletes to learn about physical therapy;
  • Fit Feet: Volunteer health care professionals screen athletes feet and ankles for deformities as well as check for infections, nail care and proper shoes and socks;
  • Health Promotions: Offered athletes tips on nutrition, adequate hydration, maintaining personal hygiene, safety, fitness, danger of tobacco use, sun safety and other health concerns;
  • Healthy Hearing: Provided hearing examinations and follow-up recommendations;
  • Medfests: Opportunity to receive free Special Olympics Iowa athlete physicals.
  • Challenge Day Program: Unique to Iowa, Challenge Days are a one-day event designed specifically for the severe and profound population of Iowa as well as our aging population. Because of the need to offer more activities for these individuals, it has been a goal of Special Olympics Iowa to expand on our motor skills programs. Challenge Days introduce team sports adapted for the severe and profound as well as those who are unable to participate in the traditional Special Olympics programs. Activities, such as ramp bowling, balloon volleyball, team basketball, basketball shoot, batting, ball darts, golf, shot put, race walk, and wall pass are modified to allow youth and adults to participate in a team or as an individual. Volunteers and switch activated equipment are on site to assist the athletes as they participate in each event.
As part of its work with Special Olympics Iowa, UHC also partnered with Iowa State University to honor an "Athlete of the Game" at 10 men's college basketball games, where a Special Olympics' athlete is recognized on the floor at Hilton Coliseum and presented with an autographed basketball. After the basketball season, all Athlete of the Game honorees were invited to a luncheon where they got to meet UHC employees. ISU Men's Basketball coach Steve Prohm also spoke and met with athletes at the luncheon.


IA Health Link Member Realizes Her Potential

A UnitedHealthcare member is now living as independently as possible and is active in her community. However, her journey to get here was long and required careful and coordinated work between UnitedHealthcare's case managers and dedicated health care providers. 
After being diagnosed with dementia, this member lived in a locked dementia unit for several years until a doctor reevaluated her psychological medication. The results were positive. Her condition drastically improved. After working with physical therapy and occupational therapy providers, she graduated from the dementia unit to a nursing home. 
She made great strides and wanted to live on her own. Her UnitedHealthcare case manager recognized the potential to make this happen and began the process to help transition the member to an assisted-living apartment. Her care providers, social services and her family discussed removing the barriers to living on her own. Her case manager helped her apply for elderly waiver services, and started preparing her to move from the nursing home to her own assisted-living apartment. 
Through regular and ongoing communications, her case manager was able to identify and address her needs to help make the transition successful. Her case manager worked with her and her family to find an apartment, offered counseling services and obtained a cell phone. Her case manager also secured home items such as furniture, linens and toiletries. The UnitedHealthcare case manager continues to support this member by going to the food pantry to make sure she has healthy food in her home and regularly checks on her health. 
Today, this member is fully adjusted in her new home, walks three miles every morning with her neighbor, and takes care of her adopted cat named Oreo. She also leads exercise groups at her assisted-living apartment facility, and often participates and leads Bible study programs. She is happily living in a safe space where she can manage her health. 


IA Health Link Member Gains Independence, Culinary Career

Amerigroup has been closely working with a 33-year-old Des Moines area member who qualifies for Medicaid Long Term Services and Supports through Iowa's Brain Injury waiver. This member suffered a brain injury during an accident and was living in an out-of- state facility when he became an Amerigroup member. He was receiving assistance for anxiety disorder and other health issues. 
After he joined Amerigroup, their care management team began talking to him and assessing his situation. He shared his desire to move back home to Iowa, live independently and pursue a career in culinary arts. The Amerigroup care management team was able to identify supports that would enable him to achieve his goals.  
Through a program called Money Follows the Person (MFP), the Amerigroup care management team was able to transition him from the out-of- state facility to a group home in Pleasant Hill, IA. The care management team then helped him secure in-home supports that enabled him to move out of the group home and into his own independent living space in Des Moines, IA. 
Amerigroup's employment support team also got involved to help him pursue a career in culinary arts by helping him secure a work skills certificate from Iowa Workforce Development. This member has overcome tremendous hurdles and achieved amazing successes. He has transitioned out of hospital-style living to independent living. He is on his way to achieving his goal of becoming a productive member of society through a new culinary career.

Cedar Falls Man Gets Much Needed Services

Good health is often taken for granted. The reality is that many Iowans face barriers that make good health elusive.   
Amerigroup recently helped connect a 69-year old man from Cedar Falls to much needed services. He was facing numerous barriers to good health, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), neuropathy and osteoarthritis. But, these weren't the most significant problems he faced. 
When Amerigroup case managers met this man four months ago, he was anemic, underweight and malnourished. Between the rent for his apartment, utilities and other bills, there wasn't much left for food. If there was ever any money left, he would purchase meal replacement shakes. As a result, the member weighed just 131 pounds. The lack of consistent quality nutrition undoubtedly played a part in numerous digestive and gastrointestinal problems that required frequent hospitalization. 
His Amerigroup caseworker arranged to have his nutritional needs met under a Medicaid waiver for the elderly and educated the member on the importance of visiting his doctor monthly. In addition, by coordinating with the home health aides, the Amerigroup caseworker was able to help the man get on a path to better health. 
Today, the member has made it back to a healthy weight and reports he is feeling much better. He's attending his medical appointments regularly, and he's managed to stay out of the hospital. The support he's received under Medicaid Long Term Services and Supports has enabled  him to live independently.