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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesRevised Medicaid Plan to Cover Transportation Costs

Revised Medicaid Plan to Cover Transportation Costs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently gave the V.I. Health Department approval to change its Medicaid State Plan to cover more transportation, dental and other services through its Medical Assistance Program (MAP).
The changes clarify coverage provisions for emergency and non-emergency transportation services, nurse-midwife services, dental services and other services for children, Gov. John deJongh said in a statement from Government House.
"These changes will allow us to provide non-emergency transportation to MAP-enrolled individuals and improve their ability to access health care services," deJongh said.
Human Services Commissioner Chris Finch hailed the new benefits in the announcement, describing transportation problems as one of the major barriers prohibiting senior citizens and low-income families from accessing services. Finch said a lack of transportation can make it difficult for dialysis patients to get to treatment, which can then result in health problems and even unnecessary hospitalizations.
"When people cannot get to primary health care," Finch said, "they often wait until they are very ill and then use the emergency room for care, which is the most expensive care setting we have."
Since often the hospitals are never paid for this care, it becomes a burden on the government’s finances, he said.
DeJongh said he is confident the passage of health care reform will allow the U.S. Virgin Islands to expand program eligibility and provide more comprehensive health care services to residents.
Meanwhile, the territory is working to improve the quantity and quality of health care services provided to MAP beneficiaries and use all federal funds available to the territory, according to Government House. With that aim in mind, the Department of Health has submitted four other State Plan Amendments to the federal government, which would enhance federal financial participation. Health has also received a grant for a Medicaid Management Information System and will be submitting requests for more technological improvements to its infrastructure, according to the statement from Government House.

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