Arkansas Healthcare

Arkansas Officials Consider Scenarios In Obamacare Court Ruling

Jun 17, 2015
supreme court healthcare
NPR / Alex Wong/Getty Images

It’s possible that by Thursday, a U.S. Supreme Court decision will result in 68,232 Arkansans losing insurance subsidies provided through the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. If that happens, state policymakers will have to decide how to respond.

Roby Brock / Talk Business & Politics

Members of a task force looking at health reforms in Arkansas took a detour down a philosophical road regarding contract management at the Department of Human Services in a discussion that lasted more than an hour.

State’s Medical Providers Unprepared For Costly Coding Switch

Jun 11, 2015

On Oct. 1, the coding system used by Arkansas medical providers for billing insurance companies and the government will change. Many providers probably won’t be ready, and if they aren’t, they will have trouble getting paid.

The federal government is requiring medical providers, including 38,000 in Arkansas, to switch from the ICD-9 system to ICD-10. Those who submit bills using ICD-9 after Sept. 30 will have their claims rejected, said Tami Harlan, deputy director of the state’s Medicaid program.

Arkansas' top official tasked with preventing, detecting and investigating Medicaid fraud has announced his resignation.

Medicaid Inspector General Jay Shue said Tuesday that he will step down but didn't say why. He didn't return a call from the Associated Press on Tuesday. It's also unclear when he will resign.

Shue was the first person to hold the position, which was created by the state Legislature in 2013.

He said recoupments of improperly paid funds tripled from $1.1 million in 2013 to more than $3 million in 2015.

Private option eligibility by county.
Arkansas Department of Human Services

The number of Arkansans approved as eligible to enroll in the state’s expansion of Medicaid, known as the private option, has surpassed 250,000 people. That’s an upward tick of 8,696 people deemed eligible from March 31st to April 30th.

A release Friday by the state Department of Human Services reports 234,791 people have actually been enrolled, up from 229,599 in the previous month.

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

A section of the Affordable Care Act – called a 1332 waiver – is being hailed by one of the legislative architects of the private option and the director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board as a path toward consensus in a Legislature riddled with uncertainty over healthcare. 

UAMS campus / UAMS

The Affordable Care Act as applied in Arkansas has worked so well for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences that administrators are considering expanding the 10-story UAMS Medical Center, Arkansas Business reports. 

The 494-bed hospital stays nearly full and can take only about 70 percent of the requests for patient transfers from across the state.

Arkansas Health Care Task Force Hires Consultant For $1 Million-Plus

May 7, 2015

The Health Reform Legislative Task Force, the legislative panel considering changes to the state’s Medicaid system, voted to hire New Hampshire-based The Stephen Group for a maximum $1,036,500 contract to help the task force make its recommendations.

The firm must present a report to legislators by Oct. 1 and then will serve as a consultant through the task force’s existence through the end of 2016.

The Arkansas Legislative Council, which is a group of legislators who act as a quasi-Legislature between sessions, must approve the expenditure.

Arkansas prison and parole officials say about 70 percent of the state's more than 52,000 parolees and probationers have signed up for the state's compromise Medicaid expansion.

They told the Legislative Criminal and Justice Oversight Task Force on Thursday that enrollment in the 'private option' Medicaid program could reduce recidivism in the state's overcrowded prison system.

Republican state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson chairs the task force and said providing medical insurance provides parolees and probationers with mental health or substance abuse treatment at lesser costs.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The healthcare experience of transgender people in Arkansas is the subject of what some laud as an unprecedented study being launched by the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ArTEC) in partnership with the UAMS College of Public Health. The community engagement based research project, funded by a $15,000 federal grant, was announced by ArTEC Tuesday.

The organization’s executive director Andrea Zekis said the award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is a new direction at both the federal and state level.