Arkansas Healthcare

CORRECTION: This story originally mistook a projection from the Arkansas Department of Health about when its rules and regulations will be finalized for when medical marijuana will actually be available to patients in the state. We regret the error. 

CORRECTION: Future medical marijuana users will not have to pass a law enforcement background check but caregivers who are legally empowered to purchase and handle the drug therapy on the patient's behalf will.

The Arkansas Department of Health late Monday afternoon released a draft of the physician's written certification necessary for an Arkansan with one of the qualifying 18 conditions to get medical marijuana once the state's dispensaries are licensed and running.

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

A group of Arkansas lawmakers who had been meeting for more than a year to find ways to revamp healthcare in the state, signed off Thursday on a plan to reduce Medicaid spending by an estimated $963 million* over five years.

The Medical Marijuana Commission meets today.
Senate Information Office

Arkansas's newly appointed medical marijuana commissioners are slated to hold their first meeting Monday at 2:00 p.m. The five-member commission was appointed last week to help facilitate the licensing and regulation of dispensaries and cultivation centers as outlined by the voter-approved Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment.

Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and other state health officials urging opposition to two medical marijuana ballot measures.
David Monteith / KUAR News

Arkansas took a few more steps toward implementing its voter-approved medical marijuana program this week and the constitutional amendment’s architect says he has faith that a conservative administration is so far faithfully carrying it out. Although, attorney David Couch does have some reservations about what the state legislature might do to the healthcare program during next year’s legislative session.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the Obama Administration has approved changes for Arkansas's Medicaid expansion program, though the waiver has stricter requirements than he wanted in providing assistance to employers who offer insurance for lower-income employees.

In a press conference Wednesday, Hutchinson said federal Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell called him Tuesday night, the day after they met in Washington, saying she would issue a letter Wednesday saying the waiver for the Arkansas Works program, previously known as the Private Option, would be granted.

Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and House Speaker Jeremy Gillam
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and legislative leaders have appointed the five members of a board that will develop Arkansas' medical marijuana policy.

Hutchinson on Wednesday named Little Rock breast cancer surgeon Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam appointed Benton pharmacist Stephen Carroll and lawyer Travis Story of Fayetteville. Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang named former Senate chief of staff James Miller of Bryant and pain specialist Dr. J. Carlos Roman of Little Rock.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson took part in meetings Monday in Washington, DC that could be key for the future of his Arkansas Works Medicaid expansion plan.

First he met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell as he seeks a needed waiver for the program, which is a successor to the state's Private Option. He then met with members of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is to meet next week with members of the transition team for President-elect Donald Trump to discuss healthcare. It comes after the governor talked with Trump earlier this week by phone.

marijuana
npr.org

Labels for medical marijuana products sold in Arkansas would have to include details on their laboratory analysis, dosage and warnings under a draft of rules being prepared for the launch of the first medical pot program in the Bible Belt.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) at the state Capitol on Monday.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas voters approved medical marijuana earlier this month and the governor says he’s open to seeing if the voter-approved tax structure should be changed in January’s legislative session. Speaking to reporters at the state Capitol on Monday, Governor Asa Hutchinson said he hasn’t yet made up his mind on new taxes or shifting where marijuana revenue should go.

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