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Medicaid Expansion Has Made a Difference: A Tribal Health Leader Shares Her Story

Tribal Health Centers in states that have expanded Medicaid to more low-income adults are seeing important changes for the communities they serve, including more people insured and improved access to care. Here’s what one leader had to say:

Angie Wilson, Director

Reno Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Health Center, Reno Nevada

The Reno Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Health Center is the largest tribally operated health clinic in Nevada, currently serving over 9,000 American Indian/Alaska Native patients. Upon my arrival as the new clinic director at the end of 2012, the clinic had approximately 5,500 patients and only 606 patients were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP. Then, in 2014, Nevada expanded Medicaid. We hired additional Patient Benefit Coordinators to assist with the application process, and as a result, Medicaid coverage among our patients has increased substantially. We now have 2,300 patients covered by Medicaid, a 279 percent increase!

Medicaid coverage has had an immediate impact on third party revenue, offsetting clinic costs and enabling us to expand specialty care. We can now offer services including cardiology, podiatry, medical imaging and audiology. This has been particularly important since our population suffers from some of the highest rates of chronic conditions and we have not had the funds to address these issues. Medicaid expansion has afforded our First Nations immediate access to health care and has afforded significant opportunities to tribal health clinics so we can sustain health care delivery on a local level.

  • For more information about Medicaid and CHIP coverage for American Indian/Alaska Native
  • Find a basic fact sheet about Medicaid and CHIP coverage for American Indian/Alaska Natives
  • Outreach tools to support enrollment efforts, including flyers for American Indian/Alaska Native communities

CMS is offering links/charts for informational purposes only, facts should not be construed as an endorsement of the organization's programs or activities

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