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DELEGATE, HEALTH OFFICIALS MEET IN WASHINGTON

OctOct. 15, 2002 – The territory's Medicare and Medicaid problems were on the plate when Delegate Donna M. Christensen and territorial health facility officials met with the heads of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week. The federal agency is part of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
Christensen "asked for the meeting to address several reimbursement problems which have proven intractable through regular channels," she said in a news release.
She played host to the Capitol Hill meeting between Rodney Miller, chief executive officer of Roy L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas; Thomas Robinson, CEO of Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix; Linda Pulley, CEO of Seaview Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility on St. Thomas; Thomas Scully, administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and Ruben King-Shaw, deputy administrator at the center.
Christensen said that as a result of the meeting, reimbursement issues for cardiovascular and rental dialysis treatments were placed on the fast track.
"In addition, the wage index, which determines reimbursement for hospitals, nursing homes and home health care, was essentially fixed, with room left for further increases," the release stated.
Less progress was made on the Medicaid cap, she said, but she and the territory's health facility officials did make King-Shaw understand the impact the cap has on the territory.
"We solicited their support to remove the cap by legislative means, as we have been working on for the last few years," Christensen said.
She said King-Shaw was sensitive to the fact that the cap prevents access to health care for Virgin Islanders. He offered, as a short-term measure, to put the health facility professionals in touch with agencies that make grants so they can look for ways to make up the shortfalls, she said.
Christensen attributed the shortfalls to the territory's high rate of poverty and the high number of uninsured people using the health care facilities.
Monique Clendinen, Christensen's spokeswoman, said the federal government caps the number of people who can receive Medicaid money at 85 percent of the number of residents living below the poverty line. In 2001, this amounted to $6.3 million. The local government picks up the rest of what it actually costs to treat the number of people who can't pay for care.
On the mainland, the federal government funds Medicaid payments for 100 percent of eligible residents.

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OctOct. 15, 2002 – The territory's Medicare and Medicaid problems were on the plate when Delegate Donna M. Christensen and territorial health facility officials met with the heads of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week. The federal agency is part of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
Christensen "asked for the meeting to address several reimbursement problems which have proven intractable through regular channels," she said in a news release.
She played host to the Capitol Hill meeting between Rodney Miller, chief executive officer of Roy L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas; Thomas Robinson, CEO of Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix; Linda Pulley, CEO of Seaview Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility on St. Thomas; Thomas Scully, administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and Ruben King-Shaw, deputy administrator at the center.
Christensen said that as a result of the meeting, reimbursement issues for cardiovascular and rental dialysis treatments were placed on the fast track.
"In addition, the wage index, which determines reimbursement for hospitals, nursing homes and home health care, was essentially fixed, with room left for further increases," the release stated.
Less progress was made on the Medicaid cap, she said, but she and the territory's health facility officials did make King-Shaw understand the impact the cap has on the territory.
"We solicited their support to remove the cap by legislative means, as we have been working on for the last few years," Christensen said.
She said King-Shaw was sensitive to the fact that the cap prevents access to health care for Virgin Islanders. He offered, as a short-term measure, to put the health facility professionals in touch with agencies that make grants so they can look for ways to make up the shortfalls, she said.
Christensen attributed the shortfalls to the territory's high rate of poverty and the high number of uninsured people using the health care facilities.
Monique Clendinen, Christensen's spokeswoman, said the federal government caps the number of people who can receive Medicaid money at 85 percent of the number of residents living below the poverty line. In 2001, this amounted to $6.3 million. The local government picks up the rest of what it actually costs to treat the number of people who can't pay for care.
On the mainland, the federal government funds Medicaid payments for 100 percent of eligible residents.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much -- and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice ... click here.