Arkansas Healthcare

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As of Tuesday it will have been two weeks since the governor issued a two week pause in issuing Medicaid termination notices but it’s not entirely clear if the moratorium will end on schedule. Expanded staffing levels called for by the governor on August 4th are not up to scale yet either.

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) discussing changes to eligibility verification for Medicaid in the Governor's Conference Room at the Capitol in early August.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas is expected to end a two week pause to sending out Medicaid termination notices on Tuesday. Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the moratorium on August 4th so that the Department of Human Services could process what he called an “information overload.”

Health care consumers who purchased their insurance through an exchange are less satisfied with their coverage but were more cost-conscious when considering their plans.

Insurance exchanges are online marketplaces for purchasing health insurance that conforms with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Health Care Task Force Chair, Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) during a break in the meeting.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Affordable Care Act continues to help Arkansas - more than any other state in the nation - to reduce its percentage of uninsured residents. A survey released on Monday by Gallup shows Arkansas has cut its uninsured rate by more than half since the first provisions of the ACA went live in 2013.

UAMS campus / UAMS

  More than 200 physicians have completed their medical residencies at UAMS, and more than half of those will practice in Arkansas, the university announced in a press release.

The 214 physicians who finished their training June 30 practice more than 50 specialities between them. Fifty-six practice family medicine, and of those, 33 will remain in Arkansas, including seven who will practice in small towns.

The press release cited American Association of Medical Colleges’ statistics saying that only seven states had higher retention rates than UAMS.

Asa Hutchinson unveiling his thoughts on Medicaid expansion in early 2015.
Arkansas Times

Non-profit workers in Arkansas who assist people with sorting through healthcare options are experiencing a rise in calls following a push by the state to re-determine Medicaid coverage. By the end of this month 48,000 people could lose coverage through the verification process.

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) discussing changes to eligibility verification for Medicaid in the Governor's Conference Room at the Capitol in early August.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas’s move to pare down its Medicaid rolls is hitting pause, for two weeks, as the Department of Human Services tries to catch up to a backlog of responses from residents trying to verify incomes.

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Tuesday he is ending a hiring freeze at DHS and paying for overtime until the determination effort can be brought up to speed.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has hired a staffer for fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton as his new senior health policy adviser.

Hutchinson's office on Monday announced he had hired John Martin to the post, starting Sept. 8. Martin is currently Cotton's deputy legislative director, which he has advised the freshman senator on domestic policy issues such as health care and agriculture.

Martin previously worked on former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson's unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid in Wisconsin and also has worked as a consultant for Deloitte.

The number of enrollees in Arkansas’ private option shrunk by about 26,500 at midnight July 31 because those former beneficiaries did not respond to requests by the Department of Human Services for information about changes to their incomes.

According to Amy Webb, DHS spokesperson, the estimate is based on information provided to insurance carriers July 21. The information was provided to the carriers so they could try to contact their private option beneficiaries to encourage them to respond to the requests, and so they could be certain not to pay claims after July 31.

The number of Arkansans deemed eligible for health care coverage through the state’s expansion of Medicaid – known as the private option – continues to tick up, rising to 259,335 in June. That’s up 4,586 people from May according to information released by the state Department of Human Services on Monday.