Arkansas Healthcare

UAMS campus
uams.edu / UAMS

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

UAMS campus
uams.edu / UAMS

Radiologists at the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences are now using 3-D Mammogram technology that they say can uncover some previously undetectable breast cancers. Dr. Sharp Malak specializes in breast imaging at UAMS. He says traditional 2-D mammography couldn’t always detect every cancer and could sometimes detect abnormalities that end up being false positives. With the 3-D technology, known as Tomosynthesis, he says that has changed.

Arkansas’s eligibility for subsidies through the federal health exchange isn’t being immediately impacted by contradictory federal court rulings over the Affordable Care Act.

In one, a three judge panel in Washington, DC said subsidies that cover low income workers can only be paid in states that have set up their own insurance exchanges. But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA came to the opposite conclusion.  Arkansas has not set up its own exchange.

The Arkansas Insurance Department says five insurance companies have signed up to offer policies through the state's federally arranged marketplace during 2015.

The companies are Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Celtic Insurance Co., National Blue Cross Blue Shield Multi-State, QCH Health Plan Inc. and QualChoice Life and Health Insurance Co. Inc.

The Insurance Department said Wednesday that each plan must still be reviewed to determine whether they adequately meet the needs of would-be policy holders.

CHI St. Vincent says it will cut 157 positions system-wide after its acquisition of a hospital and clinic in Hot Springs.

The company announced Thursday that the job reductions include 91 layoffs, with the remainder of cuts occurring by leaving vacant jobs unfilled. The company acquired the 282-bed Mercy Hospital in Hot Springs in April.

Arkansas House and Senate leaders are counting votes for two bills aimed at addressing looming insurance increases for public school employees as they see whether there's enough support for a special session on the issue.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross is vowing to protect the state's compromise Medicaid expansion, while Republican rival Asa Hutchinson says data should drive the debate on the program next year.

The two ex-congressmen addressed the future of the "private option" Medicaid plan in separate speeches to the Delta Grassroots Caucus on Friday. Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

Beebe delta grassroots caucus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Despite this week’s election defeat of a key supporter of Arkansas’s private option, the governor and a top legislative leader are hopeful the program will be renewed next year.

Speaking to the Delta Grassroots Caucus Thursday night, Gov. Mike Beebe said he believes arguments for the plan and the consequences of not taking federal money for the Medicaid expansion will sway lawmakers.

A Jonesboro orthodontist is suing the Arkansas Dental Examiners Board over a claim that barring him from offering stand-alone basic services like cleanings and X-rays is unconstitutional.

Lawyers for Dr. Benjamin Burris on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit in Little Rock that names the dental board and its members.

Bryan King Joe Farrer private option
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A group of Arkansas legislators who have opposed the private option say they’ll ask a legislative committee next month to authorize another analysis of the financial impact of the program.

Republican state Sen. Bryan King of Green Forest says he’s concerned that the program, which uses federal Medicaid money to buy private insurance for low income Arkansans, is on track to cost the state significantly more than had been projected.

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