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Navajo Nation Tackles Health Care

Navajo Nation Tackles Health Care
December 25
10:14 2019

Daniel Tso

Navajo Nation Tackles Health Care

By: John Christian Hopkins

The Navajo Nation is looking for ways to improve health care on the New Mexico portion of the reservation.

The Naat’aanii Development Corporation, a business arm of the Navajo
Nation, recently announced that it plans to contract with Molina
Healthcare to work toward a managed health care offering under New
Mexico’s Medicaid program.

It would make the Navajo Nation one of the first Native American tribes to create a managed health care entity.

This entity would improve access to and the quality of health care on the reservation, Health, Education and Human Services Committee Chairman Daniel Tso said.

The Navajo Council committee believes this new entity will be a “one of a kind Medicaid program,” according to Tso

About 75,000 Navajos living in New Mexico are eligible for Medicaid.

Compared to other Medicaid recipients Navajos receive lower rates of care and experience worse outcomes, Tso said.

Under provisions established by the federal government, each state is
allowed to structure and tailor Medicaid programs.

In 2017, New Mexico’s Medicaid program received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to collaborate with Indian Managed Care Entities, this included a pilot project with the Navajo Nation.

New Mexico state health officials estimated that the proposed entity could generate up to $468 million in annual payments to the Navajo Nation if 50,000 people enroll.

An estimated 75,000 Navajos living in New Mexico are eligible for Medicaid.

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