Medicaid charter flight set for July 21st

The charter flight to transport medical referrals and others to Hawaii is now set for Tuesday, July 21.

A press release from the Governor’s Office says the American Samoa Medicaid State Agency has chartered a Hawaiian Airlines plane for the transport of Medicaid patients to Hawaii as approved by the LBJ Off-Island Medical Referral Committee.

The purpose of the charter flight is to provide transportation to LBJ Off island Medical Referral approved patients for necessary medical treatment not available on island.

Many of the patients were previously referred to New Zealand but due to the border closures as a result of the COVID pandemic, all NZ referrals were suspended.

Currently, only emergency cases are allowed into NZ, requiring Medicaid to redirect referrals to Hawaii—pending acceptances.

All medical referral patients must have accepting physicians in the US to be approved to board the charter flight.

Although the charter will originate from Honolulu it will not be bringing any passengers to the territory.

The charter is only one-way to uplift passengers in American Samoa and take them to Honolulu.

Only cargo will be permitted on the Honolulu to Pago Pago leg of the flight.

If seats are available after LBJ Medicaid patients are accommodated, Medicaid will make available the remaining seats to the Attorney General’s Office for college students.

According to the press release, the AG’s office will vet college bound students for the charter.

After students are taken care of any remaining seats will be given to the Department of Homeland Security to accommodate military personnel and other passengers.

“Because this is a special charter flight authorized under the AS Medicaid State Plan and subject to Medicaid reimbursement policies, non-medical passengers (i.e. any passenger not referred and approved by the LBJ OIMR Committee) will be subject to a cost-share airfare not eligible for Medicaid coverage. Any previously purchased ticket on a regular Hawaiian Airline flight cannot be applied to the charter flight.”

All medical patients can contact the LBJ Off island Medical Referral Office at 633-222 Ext 485 or the Mediciad Office at 699-4777 for detailed information on what they need to do in order to get on the flight.

Information for student passengers can be obtained from the Office of the Attorney General at 633-4163. All others can contact the Department of Homeland Secuirty at 699-0414.

First Priority—LBJ Medical Referral Patients

1. All patients must have proper referrals as approved by the LBJ Off-Island Referral Committee—referrals must be medically necessary care not available on island.

2. All referral patients must have confirmed acceptance by an off-island provider (hospital or physician).

3. All referral patients must complete Medicaid prescreening, receive final approval and Letter of Guarantee from the Medicaid office. **Medicaid staff will be stationed at the LBJ hospital to process referrals for the charter.

4. All patients and escorts must sign a waiver for medical and accommodations coverage.

5. All patients and escorts must be COVID tested 72 hours prior to departure. Test will be arranged through LBJ & DOH.

6. Cut-off date to get on the medical charter list is Friday, July 10, 2020. Deadline for confirmation of acceptance and appointments is Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

7. Non-US Nationals are not eligible for federal claiming and they or LBJ must cover their airfare. **Airfare cost-share will be finalized by July 10, 2020.

Second Priority—New and Returning College Students (Reviewed and Approved by the Office of the Attorney General)

For off-island college students wishing to be considered for the Medicaid charter flight, please email all of the below-mentioned documents to AudreenaSualevai at or call 633-4163.

Due to limited space, only college bound students who are able to provide the following documents are eligible for consideration—no escorts for students are allowed.

1. A letter of acceptance or scholarship letter to a college or university in the United States;

2. Proof of enrollment at a college or university in the United States; and

3. Proof that said college or university is open for in person attendance (instead of online classes)

Review Process –

1. Upon providing all of the aforementioned documents, student packet swill be reviewed and approved.

2. Upon approval by the AG, student must see the Medicaid office to obtain a payment clearance form to pay their one-way ticket at the Office of Treasury.

3. Students must obtain a receipt of payment and MUST provide a copy to the Medicaid office and the AG’s office in order to confirm their seat on the charter manifest.

4. Students must submit a negative Covid-19 test from DOH 3 days prior to departure and provide COVID clearance to the Medicaid office.

Military Personnel and Repatriation of US residents (Reviewed and Approved by the Office of Homeland Security)

All other military personal and other passengers that are not medical or are not college bound students must contact the Office of Homeland Security to be screened and approved for the charter flight.

All passengers must obtain COVID tests from DOH.

All non-medical passengers are responsible for their cost-share airfare. Once approved by the AG or DHS agencies, all passengers, must see the Medicaid office to obtain a payment form to submit payment to the Department of Treasury. Copy of payment receipts must be given to the Medicaid office.

Non-payment of the Medicaid cost-share by July 17, 2020, will result in a passenger being dropped from the official charter manifest list.