Arkansas Healthcare

UAMS
UAMS.edu

Arkansas legislators will be meeting next week as part of an ongoing inquiry into a partnership between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway. Arkansas Business delves into the conflict in this week’s issue:

My Arkansas Insurance Marketplace Affordable Healthcare Coverage
https://myarinsurance.com/

The deadline for purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is this Saturday. Bruce Donaldson, Navigator Outreach Manager for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, says consumers are more comfortable with the enrollment process, which has been in place for four years, but there are still common questions.

Governor Asa Hutchinson  Arkansas Works Medicaid expansion
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

In March 2017, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his intention to seek a waiver allowing a work requirement for certain recipients of the state's expanded Medicaid program, known as Arkansas Works. The requirement, because of which over 12,000 Arkansas Works recipients have lost coverage so far this year, is the first of its kind in the country. 

Arkansas Works Governor Asa Hutchinson Work Requirement
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas has removed more than 12,000 people from its expanded Medicaid program over the past three months for not complying with a new work requirement.

The state Department of Human Services said Thursday more than 3,800 people lost their Medicaid coverage in October for not complying with the rule, which requires them to work 80 hours a month. Beneficiaries lose coverage if they don't meet the requirement three months in a calendar year. Nearly 8,500 people had lost coverage over the previous two months.

Arkansas Children's Hospital
KATV-Channel 7

Arkansas Children’s Hospital CEO Marcy Doderer said one of the state’s largest health care systems will raise its minimum wage for entry level jobs to $14 per hour in the next fiscal year.

Doderer, appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, discussed this topic, the debate over pre-existing conditions, and a new legal initiative underway with Walmart and Legal Aid of Arkansas.

Dr. Marc Phan of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences who discussed medical shock on this month's episode of Science Cafe.
UAMS

Medical shock can be caused by a variety of things, including heart attacks, infections and trauma.

On this month's episode of Science Cafe Dr. Marc Phan, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UAMS discussed the different kinds of shock, treatments and what's going on in our bodies when we experience shock. He also took calls from listeners during the live broadcast.

You can listen to the full program above.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission
Facebook

A company hired to grade Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary applications says it can deliver scores to the state by the end of next month. But at a meeting Tuesday, the chair of the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission voiced concerns that no physicians are part of the scoring team.

Thomas Aldridge, a manager with Public Consulting Group, spoke with commissioners about the process to help decide who should get the 32 licenses for dispensaries that will be spread throughout the state. About 200 entities have submitted applications.

Arkansas Works Governor Asa Hutchinson Work Requirement
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas has nearly doubled the number of people removed from its expanded Medicaid program over a new work requirement that's the subject of a federal lawsuit.

The state Department of Human Services on Monday said more than 4,100 people lost their Medicaid coverage for not complying with the rule. It requires some beneficiaries to work 80 hours a month for three months in a calendar year.

Doctors Urged To Tone Down Medical Jargon

Oct 11, 2018

As part of Health Literacy Awareness Month this October, doctors and other health care professionals are being urged to ditch the medical jargon and adopt plain, real-world language that will be easier for patients and caregivers to understand and remember.

Arkansas Public Media spoke with Alison Caballero, program director with the UAMS Center for Health Literacy, about the effort to get health professionals to break the habit of using advanced medical terminology.  

Daniel Breen / Arkansas Public Media

Among all the popular measures on the Arkansas ballot this November, none is as hydra-headed, or has forged unlikely alliances, as Issue 1.

It would give the legislature rulemaking power over the courts and put a limit on fees collected by trial lawyers in lawsuits. The most talked about element, though, is that it would cap courtroom awards for plaintiff's seeking punitive damages and compensation for pain and suffering — though it wouldn't limit awards for lost wages or hospital bills, or in cases of intentional misconduct — at $500,000.

Nationally, this kind of amendment is what is commonly referred to as "tort reform."

Deadline To Report Work Info Or Lose Arkansas Works Coverage

Aug 31, 2018
File photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson presenting part of his Arkansas Works plan, the state's version of Medicaid expansion.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Thousands of Arkansans are at risk of losing their healthcare coverage this weekend for failing to comply with a recently enacted work requirement for the state's Medicaid expansion program. The deadline is Friday at 5 p.m.

August is the third month that a work requirement has been in place for the Arkansas Works program. Enrollees who fail to report three months in a row will lose their coverage on the first day of the following month. That means those who haven't reported anything will be cut from the program on Saturday.

Rusty Cranford
Arkansas Nonprofit News Network

Next week, the first in a series of sentencing hearings will be held for former Arkansas lawmakers, a college president and others who were convicted or pleaded guilty for their roles in a wide-ranging corruption scheme.

It’s a complicated story largely centered around Rusty Cranford, a once-powerful lobbyist. Reporter David Ramsey wrote about this in a story for the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas’s newly-implemented work requirement for recipients of the state’s Medicaid expansion program is the subject of a new federal lawsuit seeking to remove the requirement.

The lawsuit was filed by the National Health Law Program, Legal Aid of Arkansas, and the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of three recipients of the state’s expanded Medicaid program, known as Arkansas Works. The suit, filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, names U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma as plaintiffs.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

53 years after the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, some advocates in Arkansas say proposed budget cuts are making the future of the programs unsure. 

Medicare, a national health insurance program for the elderly and those with disabilities, and Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for low-income people, are utilized by some 120 million Americans currently.

The programs have come to national prominence with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which offers expanded Medicaid coverage to about 12 million Americans.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson with Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Director Seema Verma holding a signed and approved waiver for Arkansas's Medicaid program on May 30, 2018.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

More than a quarter of the 27,000 Arkansans subject to a new work requirement in order to keep Medicaid coverage did not satisfy the state’s new reporting rules, according to state officials. The work requirement is the first in the nation to be rolled out, with the approval from the Trump administration earlier this year.

Dr. Joe Thompson
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

It's likely that thousands of Medicaid enrollees in Arkansas did not meet a deadline to report whether they are fulfilling new work requirements being implemented by the state. 

The Arkansas Division of Human Services told KUAR on Thursday that, as of June 29, only 370 of the 8,534 enrollees were in compliance. Enrollees had until Thursday, July 5, to log in to the state website and report their activities.

Arkansas Works Governor Asa Hutchinson Work Requirement
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Unless there has been a rush of people this week who successfully logged on to a state website before a 9 p.m. deadline Thursday, thousands of Arkansas Works enrollees will be out of compliance with a newly-enacted work requirement.

Marci Manley, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Human Services, says that of the 8,534 people who needed to check in, as of June 29, only 370 had reported that they were in compliance. If the enrollees fail to report their information for three months over a 12-month period, she says they will lose their healthcare coverage.

Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Amidst more revelations of problems tied to Arkansas’s nascent medical marijuana program, the architect of the state’s voter-approved amendment is calling for commissioners to abandon their process of scoring cultivation applications.

Attorney David Couch says the merit-based scoring system has been plagued with allegations that have rocked public confidence in the process.

Marquita Little with Arkansas Advocates for Children says she is concerned about how work requirements will impact beneficiaries.
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

As work requirements are being implemented for Arkansas's Medicaid expansion program, training sessions are being launched to let recipients and trained assistants know how to meet the new guidelines. One session took place Tuesday at the Our House shelter in Little Rock where more than a dozen social workers sat in on the presentation.

Department of Veterans Affairs

The details surrounding the discovery of an impaired doctor at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks were made public Monday at a press conference .

At least one death appears to have resulted from the physician's behavior and thousands of patients might be at risk.

Three members of Arkansas's congressional delegation stood beside regional and federal officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Oaklawn Racing & Gaming

Arkansas is one of just seven states that does not spend money to support gambling addiction treatment.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson with Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Director Seema Verma holding a signed and approved waiver for Arkansas's Medicaid program on May 30, 2018.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas is one of just a few states that is choosing to implement work-related requirements, in order for people to keep getting health insurance through Medicaid. The state also stands out for requiring that the verification process be done online.

That could mean trouble for low-income beneficiaries, who happen to live in a state with some of the worst access to the internet in the nation. The rollout of the new requirements begins June 1st.

Arkansas is at the forefront of a national experiment to see whether requiring work for health care coverage helps lift people out of poverty.

 

Starting next month, many who are on the state’s low-income health care program, Arkansas Works, must show they are working, volunteering, in school, or getting job training for at least 80 hours each month. The Arkansas Department of Human Services estimates 42,000 Arkansans will be impacted.

The Arkansas Supreme Court says it'll hear oral arguments over a judge's decision to prevent the state from licensing companies to grow medical marijuana.

Justices on Monday agreed to hear arguments June 7 in the state's appeal of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's decision striking down the licensing process for medical marijuana cultivation facilities. Griffen ruled the process violated the voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for certain medical conditions.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Department of Human Services has taken temporary control over two nursing homes in the state over concerns of nonpayment of food vendors.

Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' governor has signed into law legislation to continue the state's Medicaid expansion, which will impose a work requirement on thousands of participants this year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office said Thursday the Republican signed the budget bill for Medicaid and the expansion, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. More than 285,000 people are on the program, which was created as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

Arkansas House
ArkansasHouse.org

Arkansas lawmakers have voted to continue the state's Medicaid expansion another year after federal officials approved a plan to impose a work requirement on the program.

The Arkansas House approved by a 79-15 vote Wednesday the budget for the state's Medicaid program and the expansion, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. The measure needed at least 75 votes to pass. It now heads to the governor's desk.

State Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) cast the decisive 27th vote in favor of granting Gov. Asa Hutchinson's appropriation to the Department of Human Services funding the state's health care coverage for low-income Arkansans called Arkansas Works. 

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for a vote, and then on to Hutchinson, who's expected to sign it.

Governor Asa Hutchinson  Arkansas Works Medicaid expansion
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A top Trump administration official is visiting Arkansas next week as the state awaits word on proposals to move 60,000 people off its Medicaid expansion and impose a work requirement on thousands of participants.

When the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announces its five highest scoring applicants to own and operate a marijuana cultivation facility for the state's germinating medical marijuana industry, it will be a surprise to the Medical Marijuana Commission who scored the 95 applicants.

"These 95 applications were scored individually by each commissioner. They were then brought back to the Alcoholic Beverage Control office [and] turned in individually; so at this point the commissioners are also going to learn along with everyone else those top five scores," Scott Hardin, spokesman for the department, said Monday.

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