Archive for July 25th, 2006

Comments sought on Alaska Medicaid revision

It is important for everyone to examine the proposed changes. Previously, the governor pushed the Medicaid program in rural areas off onto the tribal health consortia. The reasoning was that tribes receive higher rates of Federal refunds for Medicaid recipients than does the state. Therefore, to save money for the state, Medicaid programs would be transferred.

The result, however, was that even long-term service providers had to close. Public services were consolidated into a single agency. Tribal agencies are restricted to providing services for only certain residents, i.e., only to registered recipients of member tribes. However, for only some services, non-members can receive health assistance. Non-members have no representation in the agency’s or health corporation’s governance. Thus, the state dropped its responsibility to all rural citizens; the tribal organizations had to assume the state’s role and the extra work of NGOs (and the extra costs of re-structuring)… Overlap and inefficiencies should be avoided in most cases; however, complementary services, citizen representation, and alternatives to monopolies are also valuable. The question is how to best balance everything.

Note carefully, workshops will NOT will get closer than Fairbanks to rural Alaska. Neither will the hearings.

The proposed regulations are 350 pages and contained in a PDF file.

The state Department of Health and Social Services is taking public comment on comprehensive restructuring of regulations governing Alaska’s Medicaid program.
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