Council Adopts New Health Care Assistance Policy

County Deputy Administrator Steven Lynne addresses Council questions with the Health Care Assistance Policy during today’s noontime Council meeting. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Social Services Division Manager Kim Gabaldon discusses the Indigent Fund. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Councilor Pete Sheehey speaks indepth about the County’s Indigent Fund and requests that safeguards be included to protect those in need. Council Vice Chair Kristin Henderson and others commend Sheehey for delving into the complicated issue and sharing his knowledge. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Staff Report

Council voted 6-0 (Councilor Rick Reiss was absent) to adopt the proposed new Health Care Assistance Policy (HCAP), effective July 1. The changes stem from the March 2014 Senate Bill 268, signed by Gov. Susana Martinez, which requires counties to redirect 1/12th Gross Receipts Tax to the New Mexico Human Services Division for the new Safety Net Care Pool (SNCP), beginning July 1.

The HCAP Policy has been revised to reflect those changes: References to ‘Indigent Health Care’ (IHC) have been replaced with ‘Health Care Assistance’ and references to ‘Sole Community Provider’ Hospitals have been removed and replaced with references to ‘Safety Net Care Pool’, along with statements that: The HCAP Board now makes SNCP quarterly payments to NM HSD – who distributes SNCP to Hospitals. As such, the Board will no longer accept Hospital claims starting July 1. For decades, counties provided funding to their local hospitals through the Sole Community Provider (SCP) program to cover the costs of health care for patients deemed ‘indigent.’

Under the new law, just as with SCP payments, counties will make quarterly SNCP payments. Unlike the SCP program, local hospitals will now work directly with NM HSD to access SNCP funding; there will no longer be any county involvement in reconciling claims made under the Health Care Assistance Program.

LOS ALAMOS

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