Medicaid now covers all facility fees for DOH health centers

reporters@samoanews.com

The days of paying the $10 facility fee to obtain services at the Department of Health's community health centers (CHC) in Leone, Tafuna, Amouli, Ofu, and Ta'u are gone.

This ultimately means that all legal residents can now get dental services, mental health services, and primary care services at all community health centers - free of charge.

This does not apply to prescriptions.

A statement from the director of the American Samoa Medicaid Agency, Tofoitaufa Sandra King-Young, said the American Samoa Medicaid Agency will now reimburse the facility fees for all legal residents to the Department of Health's Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and its five Community Health Centers (CHC).

According to Tofoitaufa, the Medicaid office, under the Lolo Administration, worked closely with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a payment method for the FQHC community health centers.

"Even though the FQHC could have been a Medicaid provider when it was designated an FQHC, the American Samoa State Plan did not have a payment method or eligible provider provision for the FQHC," Tofoitaufa explained.

"This required significant justification, financial modeling and analysis by the Medicaid agency to justify the payment method for the FQHC before Medicaid could officially submit a request to CMS, to make the DOH FQHC community health centers eligible for Medicaid funding reimbursement."

More information on the changes can be obtained by contacting Tofoitaufa at 258-9221.

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