Arkansas Healthcare

Local & Regional News
3:27 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

UAMS Opens A New Sickle Cell Anemia Clinic

A new clinic for adults with sickle cell anemia is opening at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. 

The program will offer a 24/7 call center as well as provide yearly flu shots and things not always available in more rural areas.

Physician with the program, Dr. Robin Devan, says approximately 1,300 children and adults suffer from sickle cell in Arkansas, but treatment isn’t consistent.

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Local & Regional News
2:43 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

DHS: If Private Option Defunded, New Budget Needed

Arkansas State Capitol

The director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services says he doesn't have an alternative budget if lawmakers block funding for the state's "private option" version of Medicaid expansion in the February fiscal session.

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Local & Regional News
2:37 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Arkansas Dept. of Human Services Presents Budget To Lawmakers

The Arkansas Department of Human Services is presenting its budget to legislators and is not asking for an increase for the next fiscal year.

DHS Director John Selig told legislators on Thursday that he appreciates how tight general revenues are.

The Joint Budget Committee is delaying until Tuesday a discussion of the private health insurance option that legislators adopted last year to expand the Medicaid program.

Selig says the private option has $400 million in federal money for this fiscal year.

Local & Regional News
10:53 am
Thu January 16, 2014

State Representative Applies To Run Arkansas Insurance Exchange

The Arkansas lawmaker who sponsored the law creating the Health Insurance Marketplace Board has applied to serve as the marketplace's executive director.

Republican Rep. Mark Biviano is one of two applicants who've applied for the position to oversee the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace.

Arkansas has partnered with the federal government to run its exchange, but the state is exploring whether to establish its own state-run insurance marketplace.

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Local & Regional News
7:55 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Plenty Of Young Arkansans Choose Private Option, says DHS

Some enrollees for Arkansas's 'Private Option' version of Medicaid Expansion found they were eligible after applying for coverage through the federally-run website, healthcare.gov.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services says a significant number of younger adults are enrolling in the state’s private option. It allows people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,850 for an individual) to receive subsidized private health coverage using federal money devoted to Medicaid. Andy Allison, state Medicaid director, says its no surprise younger people are qualifying for the private option, since they tend to earn less.

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Local & Regional News
2:23 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Special Election Bodes Ill For Arkansas Health Plan

A Republican takeover of a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat dims the prospects for continuing the state's compromise Medicaid expansion plan and could be a troubling early sign for Democrats who had hoped to rebound from recent losses at the polls.

Republican John Cooper's win in the special election Tuesday for the seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Paul Bookout over ethics violations gives Republicans a 22-13 majority in the Senate and takes away a key vote for the "private option" Medicaid expansion lawmakers approved last year.

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Local & Regional News
4:05 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Part Two Of Payment Improvement Initiative Is Underway

Primary care physicians who enrolled to be Patient Centered Medical Homes will start to see the benefits this month. The concept encourages doctors to treat chronic conditions and encourage prevention for their patients.

In return, the participating physicians receive financial support and 24/7 phone lines for patients, among other things. Medical Director for Arkansas Medicaid, William Golden, says enrollment has already exceeded expectations.

Local & Regional News
3:38 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Arkansas Legislative Race Could Impact Medicaid Expansion

Nurses work inside a hospital.

The outcome of a special election Tuesday for a northeast Arkansas Senate seat could be a factor in the long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid expansion.

The race will determine whether Democrat Steve Rockwell or Republican John Cooper will serve the remainder of former state Senator Paul Bookout’s term. Bookout, a Democrat, vacated the post due to ethics violations.

Political analyst Jay Barth from Hendrix College says Bookout voted for the "private option" plan to expand Medicaid, a plan that will be under review by lawmakers during next month's fiscal session.

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Local & Regional News
3:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Legislature Will Meet To Discuss 2015 Budget

The finance department projects a 2% increase of about $95 million  in general revenue, available for state agencies to spend in the upcoming fiscal year. The Legislative Council and Joint Budget Committee begin meetings Tuesday to discuss the current 2014 fiscal session and the 2015 budget which goes into affect July 1st.

Representative Duncan Baird, Joint Budget Committee Co-Chairman, says the Department of Human Services will join them Thursday to discuss Medicaid and the private option.

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Public Health
4:48 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Lung Cancer On The Decline In Arkansas

Credit Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday show the rate of lung cancer is in decline around the nation. The same is true in Arkansas. After a steady increase for a number of years, the state has seen a sharp decline in lung cancer from around 84 cases per 100,000 people in 2007 to 70 cases per 100,000, according to Dr. Gary Wheeler of the Arkansas Department of Health. Though he says the state struggled for many years to prevent a rise in lung cancer.

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