The business arm of the Navajo Nation plans to create a managed health care entity under New Mexico’s Medicaid program to improve access and quality of health care on the largest Native American reservation in the United States.
The Naat’aanii Development Corporation will partner with Molina Healthcare, a government health care contractor, to develop the proprietary Native American health care system—one of the first entities of its kind by a Tribe in the U.S.
If 50,000 people from the Navajo nation enroll, New Mexico government health officials forecast the system could generate up to $468 million for the Tribe.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate Daniel Tso, Chairman of the Health, Education and Human Services Committee, called the new entity “a one-of-a-kind Medicaid program,” according to an Associated Press report.
Navajos endure significantly higher rates of disease and mortality than other Medicaid recipients, Tso told the AP. And given the radical health disparity between Native Americans and other race groups across the United States, this serves to enhance at least Navajo health outcomes, by improving access to government-subsidized medical treatment.
New Mexico is home to an estimated 75,000 Navajos eligible for Medicaid. The Navajo Nation spans the Four Corners—a region consisting of the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico.
The Nation’s plans stem from a 2017 pilot project through a collaboration between New Mexico’s Medicaid program and Indian Managed Care Entities.