Northwest Digest

Wire reports

Posted: Monday, November 29, 2004

State puts halt to some medical services

ANCHORAGE - The state has imposed a moratorium on new medical services that require a state certificate of need.

The action is necessary while the state sets standards and approves regulations for the certificate of need program, Joel Gilbertson, commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services, said Friday.

"I don't think it's fair to rush decisions when those criteria have not been established," Gilbertson said.

Under state law, medical services such as hospitals and nursing homes must justify that they are needed. The program aims to control health costs by preventing excessive or duplicated services. Projects costing more than $1 million must receive a certificate of need.

Residential psychiatric treatment centers were brought into the certificate program this year. Health officials noted the state Medicaid program spent more than $40 million in fiscal 2003 for children in residential treatment, most of it to send hundreds of Alaska children to centers outside the state.



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