Individuals covered under Medicaid or by private insurance will soon have a hard time finding health service in Pulaski County. Starting July 1, new federal guidelines state that the Pulaski County Health Department can no longer provide service to those covered under Medicaid if a Medicaid provider exists in the county, and individuals covered by insurance for vaccines can also no longer receive service from the Health Department. Because the Health Department is not a Medicaid provider, and a provider does indeed exist in the county, the Health Department will be unable to render services to those individuals. They are currently looking into becoming a provider, but it can be a long process.
“We are just now getting information on how to go about becoming a Medicaid provider. So we’re working on that as fast as we can, but it takes a couple months, we’re told,” said Terri Hansen of the Pulaski County Health Department. “We just want everything to run as smoothly as possible.”
The current Medicaid provider for the county will not be able to service all the people receiving Medicaid in Pulaski County. Because the provider only sees patients of two doctors in the area, this could potentially leave a large number of residents with no way to receive medical service under Medicaid. Therefore, if a child needs their shots for school, or you need to visit the Health Department for any reason and are covered under Medicaid or another private insurance provider, you need to visit before July 1, otherwise they will not be able to help you.
In addition to the new guidelines, the Health Departments will soon have to be accredited. All the departments will be involved in this accreditation, and all employees will be required to get up to speed on new procedures and information. Everyone in the state will be required to prove they are doing everything necessary to achieve accreditation. Since the county is currently ranked 57 out of 92 counties, 20 better than last year, this accreditation could lead to an increase in our health rank. But while this will could the county’s health rankings go up, it’s still a lengthy process that will require a lot of hard work to get right.
“We’re going to have to go through a lengthy accreditation process in order to please the state of Indiana. All counties are going to have to do this. If we do not go through the accreditation process, we could lose our funding from the government,” said Hansen.
A gap analysis will take place in June to see what the health department is providing toward accreditation, and they will receive a report describing, in detail, what is necessary in order to become accredited.