Arkansas Healthcare

Four hospital providers, including Baptist Health and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield are creating a shared services organization to reduce duplication, share costs and improve care.

The Partnership for a Healthy Arkansas also includes Jonesboro-based St. Bernards Healthcare and Fayetteville-based Washington Regional Medical System. Washington Regional President and CEO Bill Bradley was elected chairman.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has rethought two of his seven proposed changes to the Medicaid private option, proposed renaming it “Arkansas Works,” and supports a managed care system for high-cost Medicaid populations after reviewing a report by a health care consultant hired by state legislators.

Cheryl Smith Gardner, Executive Director Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board and board member Mike Castleberry speaking to a legislative committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) that provides insurance for small business employees is ready to launch Nov. 1 and has already enrolled its first employer, officials announced Wednesday.

At the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace’s Little Rock headquarters, Jim Miles, president of Jonesboro-based insurance broker Covenant Medical Benefits, said his company had enrolled eight employees quickly and easily.

“Simply put, it works,” he said.

A legislative panel is asking Arkansas' insurance commissioner to expand the definition of small businesses so more companies can purchase coverage for their employees through a marketplace.

The Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Legislative Oversight Committee on Thursday voted to ask Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr to change the definition to businesses with 100 or fewer employees. The state defines a small business as having between 2 and 50 employees.

DHS Director John Selig, Michael Leavitt, DHS Andy Allison (Left to Right)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Many of the 42,891 Arkansas Medicaid and private option recipients whom a consultant says may live out of state have already been terminated from those programs, legislators were told Tuesday.

Also, Department of Human Services Director John Selig said some Medicaid, services should be administered through a private managed care company. Selig and Deputy Director Mark White testified before the Health Care Legislative Task Force, the group of legislators who are considering reforms to Medicaid and the private option.

A medical device company is expanding its manufacturing facility in north Arkansas and says it will be adding 225 jobs during the next five years.

Baxter International Inc. announced Thursday it is expanding its Mountain Home facility, which has been in operation since 1964. The current plant is 55,000 square feet and employs about 1,000 people.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Wednesday he’s looking “outside the norm” in finding a replacement for departing Department of Human Services Director John Selig.

Governor asa hutchinson talk business & politics
Talk Business & Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson reflected on his recent trade trip to Cuba, takeaways from a major health reform report released this week, and criteria for replacing departing Human Services director John Selig.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock, Hutchinson said he’ll turn first to the private business sector to replace Selig, who announced he’d leave the top Department of Human Services post by the end of this year.

Governor Asa Hutchinson John Selig Medicaid DHS Department of Human Services
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services John Selig announced on Wednesday he will resign at the end of the year. Selig served longer than anyone else at the helm of the state’s largest agency. 

healthcare hearing stephen group
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A consultant firm hired by Arkansas legislators is recommending the state consider continuing its Medicaid expansion program – in some form - with adjustments. The private option, or Health Care Independence Program, would be retooled and branded as T-HIP, the Transitional  Health Independence Program.

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