Arkansas Healthcare

Arkansas House of Representatives.
ArkansasHouse.org

Arkansas lawmakers are taking up Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to keep and rework the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion.

Health Care Execs Discuss Challenges Amid Changing Laws, Demographics

Apr 6, 2016

Healthcare is changing as hospitals modify services away from fee-based compensation to an outcome-based system in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. That, and workforce shortages, were among the challenges discussed Wednesday at the Northwest Arkansas Council’s Health Care Summit in Rogers.

Changing the entire mindset of the health care sector and the patients it serves is taking place in accordance with the Affordable Health Care Act, said Dr. Bill Bradley, president and CEO of Washington Regional Medical System.

Arkansas Legislature Begins Special Session To Consider Healthcare

Apr 6, 2016
Governor Asa Hutchinson legislature
ArkansasHouse.org

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is calling the debate over the future of the hybrid Medicaid expansion a "watershed" moment for the state. He compared the special session convened on his proposal to keep and rework the expansion to past sessions on major issues such as the state's school funding system.

Hours after Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the Legislature would consider only his Arkansas Works legislation in a special session that begins Wednesday, legislators publicly released a bill they say will help the state’s Medicaid system save more than a billion dollars over five years.

The 30-page bill would create DiamondCare, which would use private administrative services organizations that would contract with the Department of Human Services to manage some Medicaid services, rather than those services being managed entirely by DHS.

Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Vincent Insalaco in his office in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

With the special session on Medicaid expansion all but upon us Democrats are continuing to show signs that their support is not to be taken for granted by the Republican governor. Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair Vincent Insalaco released a statement today making the case for Democratic leverage.

Herb Sanderson AARP
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will limit the call in the upcoming special legislative session to his continuation of the private option, which he is calling Arkansas Works, and will not ask legislators to consider his managed care savings plan.

Hutchinson announced his intentions during a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday, the day after Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe; and Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, informed him in letters that a majority consensus exists with Arkansas Works but not with his managed care program.

Jonathan Dismang
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The leaders of the state House and Senate are asking Gov. Asa Hutchinson to focus the upcoming special session on Arkansas Works, which is his continuation of the private option, and omit a second bill that would create a managed care model for some Medicaid programs because it doesn’t have enough support.

Medicaid Advisory Committee healthcare Governor Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the savings he's projecting from his proposal to shift some Medicaid services to private firms will cut the state's waiting list for developmentally disabled in half.

Hutchinson on Wednesday defended his plan to keep next week's special session agenda limited to his managed care and hybrid Medicaid expansion proposals. The Republican governor is urging lawmakers to keep and rework the hybrid expansion, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

Arkansas ranks poorly in a study done by Consumer Reports that reviews medical board websites in all 50 states. The lack of easy access to physician’s records of past disciplinary actions is the primary issue spotlighted by the magazine.

Lisa McGiffert, director of the magazine’s Safe Patient Project, says things are confusing from the beginning, since visitors to the website must click on "Verify License" to access a physician’s profile. She believes a clearer description would make the information more accessible, but says challenges continue as patients move through the site.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will include only two items in his special session call: a bill creating Arkansas Works, and a bill creating a managed care system for some Medicaid programs, his office said Tuesday.

The decision means a bill competing with the managed care bill and supported by some legislators will not be on the call list.

Hutchinson is calling legislators into a health care special session April 6 to consider those issues, to be followed April 13 by a fiscal session, which occurs every even-numbered year.

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