Tribes Submit Application For Medicaid Waiver

Jan 22, 2016

The Medicaid Waiver could help build a new medical clinic. This one in Fort Washakie is 130 years old.
Credit Melodie Edwards

The state of Wyoming along with the Northern Arapaho and the Eastern Shoshone tribes have successfully submitted an application for a Medicaid Waiver.

If the Center for Medicaid and Medicare approves the application, the Medicaid Waiver could inject almost $17 million dollars a year into tribal health services on the Wind River Indian Reservation where there’s a severe shortage of healthcare providers.

Eastern Shoshone executive director Catherine Keene says the money would also help with preventive care and help address serious issues such as diabetes, mental health and heart disease. Keene says the program could be up and running this summer.

“We’re kind of hoping that something will happen that we can maybe implement this program starting July 1st of 2016,” she says. “Our goal now is waiting for CMS to make the final approvals.”

Keene says submitting the application is a big milestone.

“I know we’re all excited about all the hard work that we’ve put into this because it has been probably over a two-year process that we have been trying to figure out what we can do to impact the health services on the reservation.”

She says, the waiver is different from Medicaid Expansion because it reimburses tribes for the care they provide, not by making more tribal members eligible for Medicaid.