Resources for Families

Parent/Guardian Meetings
Systems Unlimited is holding quarterly meetings with parents, guardians and family members of the individuals we serve. The meetings are held at the Systems Unlimited service center in Iowa City. The address is 2533 Scott Blvd SE.

These informal meetings are held to discuss new Iowa initiatives, news from Systems Unlimited, Inc. and to answer any questions or concerns families may have regarding services for their family member. Be sure to check back often for the next scheduled meeting.

Race for Governor – Des Moines Register Primary Quiz

Iowa’s race for Governor will be an important one for health care in our state. Systems Unlimited encourages the people we serve and their advocates to exercise their right to vote for a governor that best represents them. It can be overwhelming to figure out which candidate is a good match, and The Des Moines Register offers this tool to help.

Des Moines Register Primary Quiz

A pictorial Bill of Rights

All people have rights as human beings and citizens of the United States. Because people with disabilities are at risk of unfair restriction of their rights, Systems Unlimited has developed this pictorial explanation of the rights we will take extra care to support people to understand and exercise. We are committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of the people we serve.

Download the pictorial Bill of Rights

#IamMedicaidIowa Join Us!

Lawmakers need to hear your story regarding your experiences with Iowa Medicaid Care. Go to this link and learn how you can join others in sharing what we have encountered with the Iowa Managed Care program. Let’s unite to share our stories with lawmakers.

What is going on with Medicaid Managed Care in Iowa? As of December 4, 2017:

There has been a lot of news about Medicaid managed care this month, starting with the announcement on October 31st that AmeriHealth would be ending its contract with the state effective December 1st. In the weeks since that announcement there have been several different statements from DHS about how AmeriHealth members would be transitioned. It has been confusing to keep up with all of the changing information in such a short amount of time, and is surely very stressful for Medicaid members and their families. Because AmeriHealth serves a much higher number of members with disabilities and long-term care needs than the other two MCOs – 74% of Medicaid members with serious disabilities – this is disproportionately impacting individuals with disabilities and their families.

Below is our best attempt to provide an overview of what has happened over the past month, what this means for patients and families, and where to find more information.

The Short Version:

  • AmeriHealth ended services effective December 1, 2017
  • Most members who were with AmeriHealth were enrolled with UnitedHealthcare
  • Members who switched to Amerigroup before the initial November 16th cut-off will have their Medicaid services managed by DHS
  • The ability for members to choose their MCO is temporarily suspended because Amerigroup does not have the capacity to take on new members at this time
  • The state is looking to contract with at least one additional MCO beginning in July 2019

Read detailed overview, including links to further information


Managed Care Ombudsman Program
Systems Unlimited wants to share this helpful guide to Managed Care. It has a lot of helpful information for members, and parents and guardians.

How to Be Your Own Best Advocate Guide
August 2017 Managed Care Ombudsman Program Monthly Report Cover Letter
August 2017 Managed Care Ombudsman Program Monthly Report

Guide on How to Navigate Managed Care in Iowa
Systems Unlimited received this Guide on how to advocate for individuals with disabilities in Iowa. We want to share this important resource with the families, guardians, and people we serve.

Guide on How to Navigate Managed Care in Iowa (PDF)

Medicaid and Managed Care Action Alert
As many of you are aware, Systems Unlimited relies on Medicaid funds for a significant portion of our funding to support thousands of people with disabilities in Iowa through Supported Living, Employment and Behavioral Health Services. The Federal government covers approximately 57% of Iowa’s Medicaid costs. Congress has introduced significant changes to repeal and replace Obamacare with The American Health Care Act (AHCA). Of specific concern for Iowa is the condition in the AHCA that the per capita rates for Medicaid would be based upon spending at 2016 levels. States like Iowa, that have been careful about keeping costs down, will be penalized because the rates will be permanently stuck at that 2016 level. Read More…

Helpful Medicaid Contacts

Here are some helpful resources for Medicaid recipients and health care providers transitioning to the new managed care system that went into effect April 1:

  • Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) offer health coverage to most Medicaid recipients:Amerigroup Iowa, Inc.
    Member services: 1-800-600-4441
    Provider services: 1-800-454-3730

    AmeriHealth Caritas

    Member services: 1-855-332-2440
    Provider services: 1-855-287-7855
    Web: www.amerihealthcaritasia.comUnitedHealthcare Plan of the River Valley
    Member services: 1-800-464-9484
    Provider services: 1-888-650-3462
  • Medicaid Member Services assists Medicaid recipients with questions and concerns about health care coverage, MCO enrollment, and which MCOs their health care provider has signed up with.
    Toll Free: 1-800-338-8366
    Des Moines area: 515-256-4606
  • Iowa Medicaid Provider Services enroll health care providers with Iowa Medicaid and assist with eligibility and MCO questions.
    Toll Free: 1-800-338-7909
    Des Moines area: 515-256-4609


Department of Human Services Releases Medicaid Modernization Fact Sheet: The Iowa Department of Human Services has released a Medicaid Modernization Fact Sheet. This fact sheet contains frequently asked questions and responses. Access the fact sheet here, and also find it on the dedicated Medicaid Modernization web page. Watch for future email updates regarding new documents. Each Friday, new questions and responses will be released and posted on the Medicaid Modernization web page.

Information on Medicaid Modernization can be found on the dedicated web page at:

Will you be affected by the upcoming Medicaid Changes?

  • Yes; if you, your child or your ward receives Medicaid services (medical, Waiver, and Case Management services, etc.) these changes will impact you.
  • Why is this happening?

  • The Department of Human Services, per the Governor, released a formal “Request for Proposals” or RFP.
  • This “Request for Proposals” asks managed care organizations (MCOs) (private businesses) to outline how they would manage the state’s Medicaid program, including long term care supports and services, and waiver-covered services.
  • For more detailed information go to for an explanation and link to the entire RFP document or see attachment for a condensed version.
  • On July 31, 2015, DHS will award contracts to the managed care organizations (MCOs).
  • On January 1, 2016, MCOs will be in charge of most Medicaid services.
  • What can you do?

  • Now is a good time to talk to your legislators or call/email the Governor and let them know your thoughts.
  • Call, send a letter, or e-mail your legislators with the information listed below in the chart.
  • We included a sample letter with pertinent questions you can use.
  • Please include your personal story, if you wish. It helps decision makers know how new processes will impact lives.
  • Read More

    Myths and Facts About People with Disabilities
    Everybody’s fighting some kind of stereotype, and people with disabilities are no exception. The difference is that barriers people with disabilities face begin with people’s attitudes — attitudes often rooted in misinformation and misunderstandings about what it’s like to live with a disability.

    Myth 1: People with disabilities are brave and courageous.

    Fact: Adjusting to a disability requires adapting to a lifestyle, not bravery and courage.

    Myth 2: All persons who use wheelchairs are chronically ill or sickly.

    Fact: The association between wheelchair use and illness may have evolved through hospitals using wheelchairs to transport sick people. A person may use a wheelchair for a variety of reasons, none of which may have anything to do with lingering illness.

    Myth 3: Wheelchair use is confining; people who use wheelchairs are "wheelchair-bound."

    Fact: A wheelchair, like a bicycle or an automobile, is a personal assistive device that enables someone to get around.

    Myth 4: All persons with hearing disabilities can read lips.

    Fact: Lip-reading skills vary among people who use them and are never entirely reliable.

    Myth 5: People who are blind acquire a "sixth sense."

    Fact: Although most people who are blind develop their remaining senses more fully, they do not have a “sixth sense.”

    Myth 6: People with disabilities are more comfortable with "their own kind."

    Fact: In the past, grouping people with disabilities in separate schools and institutions reinforced this misconception. Today, many people with disabilities take advantage of new opportunities to join mainstream society.

    Myth 7: Non-disabled people are obligated to "take care of" people with disabilities.

    Fact: Anyone may offer assistance, but most people with disabilities prefer to be responsible for themselves.

    Myth 8: Curious children should never ask people about their disabilities.

    Fact: Many children have a natural, uninhibited curiosity and may ask questions that some adults consider embarrassing. But scolding curious children may make them think having a disability is “wrong” or “bad.” Most people with disabilities won’t mind answering a child’s question.

    Myth 9: The lives of people with disabilities are totally different than the lives of people without disabilities.

    Fact: People with disabilities go to school, get married, work, have families, do laundry, grocery shop, laugh, cry, pay taxes, get angry, have prejudices, vote, plan and dream like everyone else.

    Myth 10: It is all right for people without disabilities to park in accessible parking spaces, if only for a few minutes.

    Fact: Because accessible parking spaces are designed and situated to meet the needs of people who have disabilities, these spaces should only be used by people who need them.

    Myth 11: Most people with disabilities cannot have sexual relationships.

    Fact: Anyone can have a sexual relationship by adapting the sexual activity. People with disabilities can have children naturally or through adoption. People with disabilities, like other people, are sexual beings.

    Myth 12: People with disabilities always need help.

    Fact: Many people with disabilities are independent and capable of giving help. If you would like to help someone with a disability, ask if he or she needs it before you act.

    Myth 13: There is nothing one person can do to help eliminate the barriers confronting people with disabilities.

    Fact: Everyone can contribute to change. You can help remove barriers by:
    • Understanding the need for accessible parking and leaving it for those who need it
    • Encouraging participation of people with disabilities in community activities by using accessible meeting and event sites
    • Understanding children’s curiosity about disabilities and people who have them
    • Advocating a barrier-free environment
    • Speaking up when negative words or phrases are used about disability
    • Writing producers and editors a note of support when they portray someone with a disability as a “regular person” in the media
    • Accepting people with disabilities as individuals capable of the same needs and feelings as yourself, and hiring qualified disabled persons whenever possible

    This page was last updated on May 10, 2018.