Arkansas Healthcare

The governor's office says Arkansas' health insurance premiums under the "private option" Medicaid expansion are projected to decrease by 2 percent next year. In a Tuesday news release, the governor's office said there won't be a blanket reduction - some premiums may rise slightly and others may stay the same or go down.

Overall, policyholders will pay 2 percent less in the coming year. The governor's office says it is releasing the projection because incomplete information was mistakenly posted on a state Insurance Department website.

Officials say the Crittenden Regional Hospital in West Memphis will stop admitting patients Monday and close down permanently on Sept. 7. The hospital says it's faced financial troubles caused by a drop in patients and reimbursements.

Officials also cited several physician departures and two recent fires that damaged the facility as reasons for the closure.

90 Percent Want Care Other Than At A Nursing Home
AARP / AARP

A survey released Tuesday from AARP finds 91 percent of Arkansans age 50 and older have a desire for services to shift to at-home care rather than at institutions like nursing homes.

Herb Sanderson with AARP Arkansas said state and federal spending on long-term care is an issue the organization for seniors would like to see addressed by electoral candidates.

AARP Poll Results In US Senate Race
AARP / AARP

The AARP released poll results Monday showing Arkansans age 50 and older are experiencing a high level of anxiety about retirement issues, and in the race for the U.S. Senate, a slim margin of voters prefer Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor over Republican challenger Tom Cotton.

48 percent support Pryor while 43 percent support Cotton. The margin of error is 2.9 percent. 9 percent were undecided. The survey did not ask about Libertarian Nathan LaFrance or Green Mark Swaney.

The number of Arkansans enrolled in the private option continues to grow. The Arkansas Department of Human Services said Friday that as of the end of July,192,210 had been determined eligible for the program. Spokeswoman Amy Webb says of those, about 183,000 have completed the enrollment process.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Senator John Boozman is touting a $16.3 billion Veterans Affairs package signed into law this week as an important move toward resolving systemic problems uncovered in April. 

Boozman met with medical center officials at Little Rock’s John L. McLellan Memorial Veterans Hospital Friday. The Republican from Rogers says he’s confident the state’s VA hospitals in Little Rock and Fayetteville are performing well and that reforms will prove beneficial.

Arkansas Department of Human Services Logo
arkansas.gov

Arkansas is holding two hearings on proposals to require participants in the state's compromise Medicaid expansion to contribute to health savings accounts and face new limits on emergency transportation.

The Department of Human Services on Thursday plans to hold its first hearing on the proposed changes, which are set to be submitted to the federal government next month.

A new study shows Arkansas outpaced the rest of the United States in reducing the percentage of uninsured residents during the first half of 2014.

The Gallup report released Tuesday says the rate of uninsured adults fell from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in Arkansas by the middle of this year.

"It’s nice for Arkansas to be number one in the nation in something really, really good," said Gov. Mike Beebe, reacting to the report.

Arkansas is proposing requiring many participants in the state's compromise Medicaid expansion contribute monthly to health savings accounts and new limits on transportation for non-emergency services.

State officials on Friday released their proposed changes to the state's "private option," which was created last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

Two public hearings are planned next week as the state is preparing to submit the proposal to the federal government in September.

UAMS campus
uams.edu / UAMS

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has opened a new neighborhood clinic in west Little Rock. 

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