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.
- Formerly known as the Willoughby District, the area will now be known as the Aak’w Village District, paying homage to its original residents.
- Former Alaska state Rep. Jason Grenn sponsored an ethics law last year that affects legislators' per diems. He called a recent vote on retroactive per diem payments "sad."
- Sovereign Bill voices Molly Mabray in "Molly of Denali," the first Alaska Native lead character in a nationally-broadcast children's program.
- Pride week in Juneau featured something new this year: a party just for LGBTQ middle school and high school students.