UnityPoint Health and Amerigroup Iowa, one of the two private companies managing Iowa’s Medicaid program, have agreed on a contract, they announced late Friday.

The agreement means that UnityPoint will continue to be part of Amerigroup’s provider network for 2018. That avoids the need for thousands of Iowans to have to change their doctors or health plans.

Late last year, UnityPoint had warned that it might not continue its relationship with Amerigroup, a move that would have affected 54,000 Iowans. At the start of the year, the companies agreed to an extension so talks could continue, and they’d set Friday as the date for a resolution.

The two parties sent a joint statement late Friday announcing the deal.

“UnityPoint Health remains committed to serving Medicaid members and improving the experience, quality and cost of care for Iowans and looks forward to continuing our partnership with Amerigroup,” Sabra Rosener, vice president of government and external affairs for UnityPoint Health, said in the statement.

“Our continued partnership with UnityPoint Health demonstrate our efforts to ensure that the members we serve in each of Iowa’s 99 counties have broad access to high quality health care services,” Cynthia MacDonald, president of Amerigroup, Iowa, said in the statement.

UnityPoint and Amerigroup said they would each provide additional information to identified patients to help make them aware of the update.

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