PUBLISHED: 5:08 PM on Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Having a say
Comprehensive restructuring will be first since Medicaid's inception
The Department of Health and Social Services issued a public notice requesting public comment on comprehensive restructuring of regulations governing Alaska's Medicaid program.

The Medicaid program provides health care coverage for low income, elderly, and disabled Alaskans and represents the second largest annual expenditure of state funds after support for our public schools.

The focus of the revisions is to accurately capture current department policies and to restructure the regulations in a more logical and user-friendly fashion.

While the proposed revisions include Medicaid policy clarifications, the department's goal is to put the new regulatory structure in place before proposing significant new policy initiatives.

Since its inception 26 years ago, the Medicaid program has undergone many changes; however this will be the first comprehensive restructuring of its regulations.

The existing Medicaid regulations found in Title 7, Chapter 43 of the Alaska Administrative Code (7 AAC 43) - the rules that providers of health care services must follow in order to receive payment for services provided to clients - have evolved over time as a mix of coverage and payment requirements.

"This project is all about accountability," said Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Karleen Jackson.

"In order to maintain the programmatic and fiscal integrity of the Medicaid program, we expect health care providers to follow the rules; but it is also incumbent on the department to make those rules as clear and concise as we possibly can."

Written comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted through Oct. 31, 2006.

Public hearings have been set for Oct. 17 in Juneau and Fairbanks, and Oct. 19 in Anchorage.

These hearings will include call-in capability for persons who wish to participate from elsewhere in the state. In addition, a series of workshops on the proposed regulations will be conducted Sept. 12, 14 and 15.

Information on how to submit written comments, additional information regarding the public hearing and workshops, and a copy of the proposed regulations and supporting documents are available at the department's regulations web site at:, or by contacting Kurt West at (907) 465-3228.