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IHS Launches Medicaid and Medicare Enrollment Pilot at Six Facilities

Enrollment push benefits patients, who gain more access to health care, expanded IHS services

The Indian Health Service is launching a new effort to increase Medicaid and Medicare enrollment of IHS patients at six health facilities in four states. The pilot targets American Indian and Alaska Native IHS patients eligible for Medicaid and Medicare who are not yet able to access the health care options and support available through those programs because they are not enrolled.

The participating facilities are: Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona; Pine Ridge Hospital in Pine Ridge, South Dakota; Rosebud Hospital in Rosebud, South Dakota; Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota; Blackfeet Community Hospital in Browning, Montana; and Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Health Care Facility in Belcourt, North Dakota.  

“For our patients, having Medicaid or Medicare coverage means having more access to health care. The goal of this pilot is to increase Medicaid and Medicare enrollment in the selected sites, help the IHS identify best practices to increase Medicaid and Medicare enrollment in all of our communities and leverage resources to provide access to quality health care,” said IHS Principal Deputy Director Mary Smith. “I encourage Indian Country to get enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare: it benefits you, your family and your community.”

The project is expected to increase resources available for IHS to spend on patient care. IHS collects reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare for services provides to Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries at IHS facilities, and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act provides that all third-party revenue collected by a facility remains at the local level. This revenue is used to meet conditions of participation in the Medicaid and Medicare programs, and to supplement needs at the local level such as hiring more providers, purchasing new equipment and funding additional services.

IHS is working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , which oversees Medicaid and Medicare, as well as other federal agencies, national and regional Indian organizations, states and Tribes to offer enrollment assistance training and host on-site enrollment events at the six facilities. Specific enrollment event dates for August and September will be posted on the IHS calendar in the following weeks.

IHS is working to strengthen and design systems to better serve patients, and that includes increasing Medicaid and Medicare enrollment across our facilities. As part of this project, IHS is improving data systems and training staff.

IHS Division of Business Office Enhancement oversees IHS business offices and staff and advises on third-party reimbursements from Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurance.

The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.