Alaska Primary Care Association 2018 Alaska Health Policy Priorities 

The Alaska Primary Care Association (APCA) is the member organization of Alaska Community Health Centers (CHC). The 2018 State and Federal Priorities reflect our goals for maximizing individual private and public coverage sources that also generate sustainable revenue for our safety net and patient-centered care.  We continue to focus on  ensuring that Health Centers are adequately staffed and compensated. Outlined below are the 2018 State legislative & policy priorities as approved by the APCA governing board members on February, 2018.       

1. Medicaid
2. Healthcare Workforce
3. Behavioral Health Integration And Opioid Epidemic Response
4. Cost of Care & Coverage 
5. Sustainable Fiscal Solutions for Healthy Alaskan Communities
6. Rural Health Connectivity

1. Priority - Medicaid 
Federally Qualified Health Centers and Medicaid have a unique relationship designed to maximize patient access to care and support FQHC sustainability through a comprehensive payment model. It is the most prevalent type of insurance coverage for Alaska Health Center patients and the largest source of revenue for Alaska Health Centers.  

2018 Regulatory and Legislative Goals

System Financing & Design

  • Seek a two percent Medicaid cost of living rate adjustment to begin to offset rate freezes sustained over the last two years, or other opportunities to maximize Medicaid revenue for Health Centers
  • Maintain state funding of Medicaid program to not adversely affect provider rates, beneficiary eligibility and utilization, and range of optional services
  • Defend Medicaid as a mandatory program against efforts to replace with block grants and per capita caps

 Medicaid Redesign and Implementation:

  • Support implementation of section 2703/1945 Health Home demonstration project

 Behavioral Health Integration and Behavioral Health Workforce:

  • Strongly support (SB105) that would expand Medicaid reimbursement to Licensed Marital and Family Therapists (LMFT).  We seek to have the bill amended to add Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and to specifically name Federally Qualified Health Centers.  

 Oral Health Integration:

  •  Defend against cuts to Adult Oral Health State Medicaid benefit

2. PRIORITY – HEALTHCARE WORKFORCE
Patient experience, quality care, and efficiency all rely on training, recruiting, and retaining the right work force working at the peak of their qualifications.

2018 Regulatory and Legislative Goals

  • Strongly support (SB105) that would expand Medicaid reimbursement to Licensed Marital and Family Therapists (LMFT).  We seek to have the bill amended to add Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and to specifically name Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • Seek continued state and federal support of APCA Apprenticeship programs
  • Support maintained funding of University of Alaska health careers programs
  • Support SHARP program and other state opportunities to reduce student loan debts of hard to place providers in communities throughout the state
3. PRIORITY – BEHAVIORAL HEALTH INTEGRATION AND OPIOID EPIDEMIC RESPONSE INTEGRATION OF CARE 
Alaska Community Health Centers continue to make progress in integrating behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services into the comprehensive community health care setting.  A majority of Health Centers have achieved Patient Centered Medical Home status and model their integrated behavioral health and substance abuse treatments in the context of whole patient care. 

2018 Regulatory and Legislative Goals

  • Strongly support (SB105) that would expand Medicaid reimbursement to Licensed Marital and Family Therapists (LMFT).  We seek to have the bill amended to add Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and to specifically name Federally Qualified Health Centers.  

4.   PRIORITY – COST OF CARE AND COVERAGE
Initiatives that immediately slow the inflation rate of insurance coverage and care while addressing structural changes to Alaska’s healthcare system to become more transparent, affordable, and accessible.  Alaska Health Centers and the primary care system are consistently identified as a key pillar in guaranteeing quality, affordable access to care.  

2018 Regulatory and Legislative Goals

  • Actively participate as a leading voice in the Alaska Healthcare Blueprint process
  • Provide a primary care voice on legislation surrounding price transparency, insurance reimbursement policy, and the Alaska Health Authority

5. PRIORITY – SUSTAINABLE FISCAL SOLUTIONS FOR HEALTHY ALASKAN COMMUNITIES
Alaska’s Community Health Centers need healthy Alaskan communities in which to operate – communities that are fiscally sound and stable.  In order for Alaska’s safety net to provide efficient, quality care and contribute to fiscal savings, Medicaid, Public Health, and other related programs must have adequate resources. 

2018 Regulatory and Legislative Goals

  • Budget that retains key funding for communities while addressing need for new revenue
  • Seek a two percent Medicaid cost of living rate adjustment to begin to offset rate freezes sustained over the last two years
  • Maintain state funding of program to not adversely affect provider rates, beneficiary eligibility and utilization, and range of optional services
  • Strongly support funding for public health nursing – difference between community health and public health
  • Support adequate funding for planning and administration funding importance for community health

 6. PRIORITY – RURAL HEALTH CONNECTIVITY
Alaska’s health system is built on state of the art hardware and software systems that require highly subsidized, dedicated bandwidth.  The long standing federal programs that provide direct broadband subsidies and capital for modernization need reform and additional funding to grow with ever increasing demands for bandwidth, speed and reliability.  Current and future improvements to patient care and anticipated budget savings in Alaska may require additional State of Alaska involvement. Finally, we and the communities we serve require fiscal stability and support of broadband connectivity to ensure adequate funding for safety net health programs and sustainable healthy communities.  

2018 Regulatory and Legislative Goals

  • Strongly support HJR14 that urges the Federal Communications System to adequately fund and modernize the USAC RHC program.

Weekly Bill and Hearing Updates

The Alaska Primary Care Association Advocacy Team publishes a weekly Bill and Hearing Update during each State Legislative Session. For the most recent edition, please contact Jon Zasada at 907-929-8102.

Additional Resources:

www.akleg.gov
www.akhealthreform.org