How Medicaid Expansion Impacts Our Health Care

SCF Family Health Resources assists with applying for additional health insurance benefits.

Southcentral Foundation is committed to providing high-quality services, supporting family wellness, and embracing shared responsibility. To support these initiatives, SCF has diversified its funding sources to include private insurance, private and public grants, Medicaid, and Medicare. To fully succeed in SCF’s mission of a Native Community that enjoys physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness, SCF depends on an active relationship between employees and customer-owners to ensure customer-owners who are eligible for specific coverage are enrolled. Roughly 50 percent of all services provided on the Alaska Native Health Campus would not exist if it relied purely on IHS funding.

IHS is the primary institution through which the federal government provides health services to Alaska Native and American Indian people; it is not an insurance program, but a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, created as a result of government-to-government treaties, that provides funding for federal health services for Alaska Native and American Indian people.

SCF Family Health Resources assists customer-owners and community members with applying for third-party payer health insurance benefits. These benefits include Medicaid, Medicare, Denali Care/Denali KidCare, Tribally-Sponsored Health Insurance Program, Veterans Benefits Administration, and Social Security Disability Insurance. Medicaid is arguably Alaska’s largest third-party payer, with the federal government covering 50 percent of the state’s Medicaid costs.

Through FHR’s efforts to enroll customer-owners in Medicaid, SCF has improved primary care capabilities and introduced more treatment options for chronic pain, behavioral health, outpatient care, medication-assisted treatment for addictions, and more. The Alaska Tribal Health System relies on the Medicaid program to narrow the gap between unmet health needs and the chronically underfunded IHS. SCF has invested, and continues to invest, Medicaid revenue in service expansions and program enhancements that improve the health and lives of the Native Community.

Alaska’s Medicaid program enables low-income seniors, children, and people with disabilities to get needed health care and for people in rural Alaska to travel to receive care. Congress is considering plans to cap Medicaid, which would impact the advancements made with the Affordable Care Act’s (also known as Obamacare’s) Medicaid expansion efforts that increased coverage among Alaska Native people and provided more revenue to IHS- and Tribally-operated facilities.

Medicaid expansion has allowed for improved access to: primary care — SCF added clinical teams to decrease the number of customer-owners empaneled to each team, resulting in more time with providers and stronger relationships, which help address the root cause of health challenges; support for chronic pain — SCF hired a chronic pain specialist, focused on helping primary care teams with chronic pain diagnosis and treatment; medical detox — SCF moved from grant-based funding to service-based funding, which increased staffing and improved the care provided; and outpatient treatment for addictions — SCF is now offering outpatient services for those with addictions at four-times the service volume of previous years.

These improvements demonstrate that continued support for Medicaid expansion is imperative for SCF to maintain and enhance its high-quality services.

by SCF Public Relations

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