Medicaid has an old rule that says it won’t pay for substance abuse treatment if a facility has more than 16 beds. Now, as it faces an opioid epidemic, Alaska can ignore that restriction.
Gov. Bill Walker said the good news came Wednesday in a call from the White House: The federal agency in charge of Medicaid has granted the State of Alaska’s request for a waiver.
The state said the waiver makes an additional 66 treatment beds available for Medicaid patients struggling with drug addiction. The 16-bed limit came in the original Medicaid law in 1965. It was designed to ensure that states remained responsible for funding psychiatric hospitals.
Alaska’s new waiver also expands options for community-based treatment and for medication-assisted treatment.
- The state’s Marijuana Control Board is now accepting applications for on-site consumption, despite uncertainty stemming from recent board appointees.
- The governor of Maine has signed a warrant allowing the extradition of a man accused of a rape and murder 26 years ago in Fairbanks.
- Records show state officials are exploring adding a second Juneau ferry terminal 30 miles north of the Auke Bay terminal to shorten travel time.
- Anchorage police Lt. Nancy Reeder has accepted Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly’s offer to serve as the city’s new police chief.