CHCC official: Long-term solution to Medicaid funding needed

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COMMONWEALTH Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said the $120 million appropriated by the federal government for Medicaid is a temporary fix, and a long-term solution is still needed.

President Trump on Friday signed into law H.R. 1865 which, among other provisions, allots $120 million in Medicaid funding for the CNMI.

“We are grateful for the bipartisan legislation which provides a two-year increase in funds and federal match for the Medicaid program in the U.S. territories,” Muna said in a statement.

She said the increased funding will allow the healthcare and public health systems in the U.S. territories to further improve access and quality care to the population.

“This funding continues to be vital to all of the U.S. territories, and while we are grateful for this temporary fix, we must fund a long-term solution to Medicaid funding to provide stability to our system of care,” she said, adding that CHCC is looking forward to working collaboratively with the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration in order to build a healthy community in the CNMI.

The new law will provide the CNMI $60 million in annual Medicaid funding in FYs 2020 and 2021. Currently, the CNMI receives $6.9 million in annual Medicaid funding.

In June, due to the depleted federal and local funding for the program, CNMI Medicaid designated CHCC as the only provider of primary care for the islands’ 15,316 Medicaid beneficiaries.

CHCC said 44 percent of its revenue comes from Medicaid whose main beneficiaries are people with limited income and resources.

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