Steve Brawner / Talk Business & Politics

Steve Brawner is a freelance journalist and contributor to Talk Business & Politics.

He is also a syndicated columnist in 10 Arkansas newspapers.

You can email him at brawnersteve@mac.com or follow him on Twitter: @SteveBrawner.

Governor Asa Hutchinson John Selig Medicaid DHS Department of Human Services
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The consultant hired by the Health Reform Legislative Task Force said Thursday that a standard 30-day deadline for responding to a request for income verification for Medicaid eligibility is “probably appropriate,” while Department of Human Services Director John Selig defended the state’s current 10-day deadline.

Governor Asa Hutchinson John Selig Medicaid DHS Department of Human Services
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson laid out a seven-point plan Wednesday that would continue Arkansas’ participation in the Medicaid expansion through the private option while requiring recipients to participate in employer-sponsored plans and pay premiums.

Hutchinson John Selig
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The backlog of Medicaid and private option recipients has been eliminated, and the Department of Human Services again will begin sending out notices of termination letters to private option recipients deemed ineligible because of changes in income or because they did not respond to a request to verify their income.

eStem UALR
David Monteith / KUAR News

UALR and eStem Public Charter Schools announced a partnership Monday where eStem will educate students in grades 9-12 on UALR’s campus, where they will have the opportunity to earn a two-year associate’s degree. University officials said it’s an arrangement unlike any other in the nation.

Health care consumers who purchased their insurance through an exchange are less satisfied with their coverage but were more cost-conscious when considering their plans.

Insurance exchanges are online marketplaces for purchasing health insurance that conforms with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Arkansas Research Alliance, a coalition of five research universities partnering with state businesses, announced today two $500,000 awards given over three years to a Chinese scientist specializing in energy storage and a Danish engineer focused on experimental cardiovascular surgery.

CHI St. Vincent and Conway Regional Health System have signed a five-year management agreement and created the Arkansas Health Alliance, a new corporate entity for independent hospitals to affiliate with CHI St. Vincent, the two health care providers announced Tuesday.

According to a news release, the agreement, effective Aug. 17, represents a partnership, not an acquisition, and the two health systems will retain their names, governance and autonomy. Matt Troup, CHI St. Vincent vice president of ancillary and support services, will become CEO of Conway Regional.

The nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t fulfill its objectives, so the United States should continue to enforce sanctions, even if it does so without the support of the United Nations, U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., said Monday.

The state has saved $2.5 million in salaries during the last half of the state’s fiscal year from January 13 to June 30 as a result of a hiring freeze instituted by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, his office announced Tuesday.

Hutchinson’s office said the freeze has resulted in the state having 297 fewer state employees. Positions were frozen an average of 59 days, meaning Hutchinson’s office is reviewing all open positions. His office said 433 freeze requests are pending.

Hutchinson said his first act as governor was to institute the hiring freeze.

The number of enrollees in Arkansas’ private option shrunk by about 26,500 at midnight July 31 because those former beneficiaries did not respond to requests by the Department of Human Services for information about changes to their incomes.

According to Amy Webb, DHS spokesperson, the estimate is based on information provided to insurance carriers July 21. The information was provided to the carriers so they could try to contact their private option beneficiaries to encourage them to respond to the requests, and so they could be certain not to pay claims after July 31.

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