Use of Medicaid in private clinics to end this March

Medicaid office still waiting on CHCC response

Private clinics on island have until the end of March to accept both children and adult patients under the CNMI Medicaid Office program—until the hospital decides whether Medicaid clients can still be treated at private clinics.

In an interview with CNMI Medicaid administrator Helen Sablan yesterday, she disclosed that all private clinics were given a three-month leeway to accept Medicaid applicants.

Sablan said that Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña would have to send a letter to her and certify whether or not CHCC is willing to extend the period for Medicaid patients to avail of the services of private clinics.

“Usually when they need help from the private clinics, that is when we open up to the private clinics. It will expire at the end of the month for patients to go to private clinics, for both adults and children,” she said.

“In the past it was the children [who were stopped] because the [hospital] had enough pediatricians, so they stopped the children and only this year they opened up for both. So I am going to have to request and see what is their status to see if they want to continue [availing of] the help of private clinics,” she added.

Muña earlier said that private clinics have been accepting both adults and children under the Medicaid program since January this year.

Last October, private clinics stopped accepting children with Medicaid due to CHCC having enough pediatricians. This is due to the Medicaid state plan that limits the participation of private providers.

The revised state plan, which has been approved by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Region 9, requires Medicaid patients to first seek treatment from CHCC and does not allow private clinics to provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries unless CHCC is not able to accommodate the patients.

The whole purpose of the state plan is to help the Medicaid program meet its financial goals because they had a cash flow issue in 2012.

Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at

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