What to Ask Candidates About Medicaid

This year as political candidates are running for election or re-election, they will be asking for your vote. Since our elected officials determine the fate of Medicaid funds, it’s important that we all place informed votes when the time comes. If/when these people ask for your vote, be prepared to ask them some questions in return!


Cuts to Medicaid:

Currently, it seems that Medicaid is taking big hits to funding in all areas.

  • Do you believe that Medicaid needs further cuts?
  • How would you improve Medicaid spending without cutting it?
  • What is your position on adding more restrictions — such as work requirements or enrollment freezes — to programs like Medicaid?


Coverage for All Children:

Today, 96 percent of children in Arkansas have health coverage because of ARKids, funded by Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It ensures over half of children in the state have a reliable source of coverage that their families can afford.

  • How will you protect health coverage for children?


Special Needs & Disability:

Arkansas has a good reputation for providing for special needs populations. However, recent actions seem to move toward what surrounding states are doing, which is not acceptable.

  • How would you protect the funding for special needs and disabled people?
  • Currently thousands of people are waiting for needed services. What ways do you see to move people off of the DDS Waiver Waiting List faster to get the services they need?
  • Would you move this population to managed care if the current PASSE system doesn’t work?


Behavioral Health Needs:

The Behavioral Health options in this state are lacking, especially when it comes to timely treatment state-wide for someone with those needs.

  • How would you improve Behavioral Health treatment options for those on Medicaid across the state?
  • Would you move this population to managed care if the current PASSE system doesn’t work?


Access to Health Care:

In addition to coverage, it is important that families can get the high-quality health care treatment they need. Currently, people struggle to find a doctor who will accept Medicaid to treat them, or they don’t have transportation to the next available provider. By putting the right policies in place, we can improve access to care for all Arkansans.

  • How will you ensure that all children and families in Arkansas have access to high-quality health care?
  • How can you get more providers all over the state to accept Medicaid patients?

Arkansas Works:

Up to 300,000 adults have access to a ordable health coverage because of the state’s Medicaid expansion program, Arkansas Works. This program uses Medicaid funds to enroll eligible adults in a private insurance plan at little or no cost to them.  It has also helped hospitals and doctors who were treating patients that were unable to pay for care.

  • What is your position on providing affordable coverage to adults who are low-income earners?
  • Now that a work requirement is being enforced, what job-training and educational resources do you think the state should provide?

Please press these issues and make sure that the people you vote for will work for you!  Submit more questions!

Pulaski County Nonpartisan Candidate Forum

This resource is from Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families

Join Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods, League of Women Voters of Pulaski County, Arkansas Community Organizations, Citizens First Congress, and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for a nonpartisan candidate forum on April 28th to find out where candidates stand on the issues most important to you. Audience members will have the opportunity to submit questions for the candidates at the event.

When: 1-5 p.m., Saturday, April 28
Where: M.L. Harris Auditorium at Philander Smith College,
900 Daisy Bates Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas 72202

Confirmed races:
-State Senate District 30
Senator Linda Chesterfield
Andre Pendleton

-State House District 33
Tippi McCullough
Ross Noland

-State House District 36
Representative Charles Blake
Darrell Stevens

Don’t know your district? Find out here. Just click the search button and type in your address.

Stay connected for updates, including additional races that may be included.

Don’t forget our guide to questions you might want to ask!

One Therapy Rule – Part 1

MSL has done some research on a change coming our way. You may have heard of it – the “One Therapy Rule,” formally known as the EIDT Program. Watch this video and stay tuned for your opportunity to take action.

Latest DHS Notice: AR Works Changes

This notice was released by DHS today!

From April 2-8, individuals who receive their health care benefits through Arkansas Works and are 30-49 years old will be receiving letters in the mail that contain a reference number to link their online accounts to the Access Arkansas Work Requirement website.

The website, which launched over the weekend, is where beneficiaires will report work, job training, education and other activities if they are subject to the work requirement. It also is how they will report and update activities that could qualify them for an exemption. Individuals can begin linking their accounts and reporting exemptions now.

DHS is phasing in the work requirement starting June 1. People who are subject to the requirement as of June 1, and must begin reporting work activities, will be notifiedt in May.

To assist beneficiaries in creating these online accounts, and to let them know where to find their reference numbers, DHS produced the video below (also found at https://youtu.be/pkfct7Px3MQ). The video also has been posted to the Arkansas DHS Facebook page (@ArkDHS). Feel free to share this video and update your audience regarding the information in that message.

We encourage all beneficiaries to create and link an online account to the website before they are required to start reporting work activities.

A sample of the notice that beneficiaries will be receiving over the next week can be found here: https://bit.ly/2JaXfrs. Please contact Marci Manley at marci.manley@dhs.arkansas.gov if you have questions or need additional information.

Work Requirement News: Exemptions by Age

News from the Kaiser Family Foundation

“In 8 of the 10 states w/ approved or pending waivers as of March, #Medicaid #workrequirements would apply to all or most older nonelderly adults. #AR & #WI would exempt those age 50+. #AZ would exempt 55 and older and #IN & #UT would exempt 60 and older.”

kaiserf.am/2GITTxz

The PASSE System – How to Take Action

Updated: 4/10/18 12:10pm

The PASSE system was voted in by our legislature last year, and now the time has come for us to see the changes.

If you need a reminder, the PASSE stands for Provider-led Shared Savings Entity, and they will be managing the care for tiers 2 & 3 of behavioral health and developmental disability services.

DHS has begun to assign people to the 4 licensed PASSEs after each person’s Independent Assessment is complete.

MSL is actively working to get you more information on the PASSEs themselves. The information we have so far is listed below. If you have a question, you can call the DHS PASSE expert in your area. See the list.

These changes may be happening to you or a loved one, but you can do these 7 things to help yourself in this new process:

1. Make sure your provider knows about the PASSE and everything it involves.

Update: DHS said this week that they are in the process of setting reimbursement rates for providers – the actuary process. Because of that, some providers will not know what you mean when you mention the PASSE to them. Their business office may know and may be waiting on these rates before making any decisions. However, you can still take this information to your provider and/or to the business office.

The top 2 packets are ones that DHS has distributed to providers. Don’t assume yours has received it. Every provider you use needs to be sure they understand this. The 3rd is a collection of contact information of all PASSEs specifically for providers to help them join. Take care of yourself, and take these to every provider you see.

  • A Family letter to take to your providers that explains this for you
  • Resource that was sent to PCPs
  • Resource that explains PASSEs in depth
  • Resource that explains how to join
  • Give them the contact information below

Some have been concerned whether ACH is covered. This is the response:

“State supported hospitals UAMS and ACH will be enrolled with every PASSE. Many doctors are enrolled through their networks but may not know that yet. You can call every PASSE and interview them so you are making an informed choice.”

2. Get to know the PASSEs.

*MSL has requested websites for all – check back for updates.

Arkansas Total Care
Empower
Summit (Arkansas Provider Coalition)
ForevercARe

3. Join a PASSE Advisory Committee.

Every PASSE must have a committee of individuals and caregivers affected by the PASSE to give them feedback on what’s truly happening, especially if that doesn’t match what’s supposed to be happening. Use the contact info above to send your request to join a council.

4. Remember, you have choices.

Once you have been assigned a PASSE, you have 90 days to change to another. Call your PASSE, and make sure they include your providers. If they don’t, use the info above to find a PASSE that better suits you. We will continue to provide more info as we can!

5. If you feel lost, take some time to catch up.

What is a PASSE? Will you be affected? MSL has been following the PASSE from the very beginning. Take some time to catch up and read all about them.

6. Keep MSL informed.

If you learn anything, especially from a specific PASSE, share it with us! If you have any problems, MSL works to solve those for you. Please let us know by:

7. Think about how you’re feeling now, remember that at the next vote.

Our legislature voted this into effect. We called, we emailed, and we visited – all to let them know what we need. If you feel that this good for you, remember that, and perhaps send a note to let them know. You might want to vote for your representatives again. If you feel they didn’t listen to you or didn’t represent you well by voting for this, you should send them a letter to let them know. However, you also have the power to change who is in office. Make sure you place an informed vote. See how your local Representatives or Senators voted on Act 775.

H.R. 620 – Should you take action?

The Disability community is calling far and wide for people to take action against H.R. 620, saying that it is a bill that “fundamentally weakens the protections of the American with Disabilities Act.” Here are some resources to help you determine if it affects you or someone you love, as well as resources to help you to take action!

Does this affect you or someone you love?

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Take action!

A link originally shared by Disability Rights Arkansas gives these tips:

“Please contact your House Representative(and others from your state) and encourage them to stay strong in their opposition to H.R.620 and any “notice and cure” bill, as a rollback of civil rights. SAVE THE ADA!

  • Go to Contacting Congress using your zip code to find out how to reach your House representative via e-mail, phone, Facebook, Twitter, fax, etc.
  • Call your Representative using the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. They will help you find your Representative’s name, and switch you to their office. If you know your Representative’s name, you can use the House of Representatives phone list.
Sample Script:

“Hello, my name is [your name]. I’m a constituent from [your state], zip code [your zip code]. I am opposed to H.R. 620 and any change to the equal access protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I strongly encourage Representative [add last name] to oppose any reform efforts. Thank you.”

Reasons To Oppose H.R.620:
  • H.R. 620 would weaken the civil rights of people with disabilities, making it harder for us to use the same restrooms, shop at the same department stores, and eat at the same restaurants as our non-disabled friends, family members, and peers.
  • Disability rights are civil rights. The ADA is a civil rights law. H.R. 620 would not only roll back important parts of the ADA, it would pose risks for other civil rights laws as well (such as Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues from discriminating based on race; Title III of the ADA was based on this law).
  • H.R. 620 would not solve the problems its supporters are claiming it would fix. It would not stop fraudulent lawsuits. State courts and state bar associations are already equipped to address those problems, in better ways, without denying anyone equal access, or their civil rights. They have been successfully shutting down those bad practices in many areas.” More info

How to make sure Congress is listening to you.

PASSE Q&A Follow-up

DHS recently hosted a FB live about the PASSE to answer our questions, but some of your questions were not answered at that time. The images below show DHS’s follow-up answers to some of the questions.

For those of you who would like to go back and watch the Facebook live video from January 19, click here.