Happy Birthday, Medicaid!

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On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law. For 53 years, it has served as a safety net for millions of people in times of health and financial hardship.

Let’s celebrate Medicaid by sharing why you’re thankful for it! What has Medicaid done for you, a friend, or a loved one?

Note: Many of these may be shared, so you don’t have to put your whole name. You can include a link to your photo, such as one you’ve shared publicly on your social media profile.

ARWorks: How to Take Action

The deadline to comply with work requirements for June was July 5. DHS sent out notices of non-compliance to thousands of people that should have already reached clients. If you have not reported your hours, you need to do so as soon as possible because you can only miss a couple more months before you lose coverage. Even if you don’t utilize AR Works, please SHARE this information!

Some people don’t even realize that they are affected. They don’t recognize the name AR Works, or their address has changed preventing these letters from DHS from giving this much-needed information. If you need more information about AR Works (what it is, its history, how to apply), read this article.

If you are unsure if you are affected or how to proceed if you are, keep reading. We have information below that will help!

Anyone who receives those notices or just wants information is welcome to call Legal Aid of Arkansas at (800) 967-9224. They have special Arkansas Works lines–callers can just press 4 at the initial message, dial extension 6313 for Trevor, or extension 2206 for Kevin.

Check this letter to find out if you’re affected or what to do:

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Here are ways you can spread the word about the changes: 

(1) Check out DHS’ website about how to report your work hours, school attendance, volunteer hours, or your exemption.

(1) Share Legal Aid’s Facebook video. This explains the latest and has a link to earlier videos: https://www.facebook.com/arlegalaid/videos/1755020114575199/

(2) Share the attached flyer (ar-works-flyer-latest.pdf) and handout (arkansas-works-information-for-consumers-latest-05-10-18.pdf).

(3)  Invite Legal Aid to talk to your group, community, staff, or clients. They can accommodate any form of participation (in-person, video, phone), various languages, and any time limitations.

If you want assistance from Legal Aid, here is contact info:

Kevin De Liban, Attorney

Economic Justice Practice Group Leader

Legal Aid of Arkansas–West Memphis

310 Mid-Continent Plaza, Suite 420

West Memphis, AR 72301

Phone: (870) 732-6370 x. 2206

Fax: (870) 732-6373

Facebook Twitter

AR Choices: How to Make a Public Comment

You have the opportunity to take action and make a public comment until July 31. How would one choose to make a public comment about the Arkansas Choices issue? What would one say?

This is how you can place your own public comment for the record:

  1. First, follow this link (copy and paste it into your internet address window): https://medicaid.mmis.arkansas.gov/General/Comment/Comment.aspx
  2. You will see some documents on a long page that are available for public comment by July 31, 2018. The 3 documents you want look just like the ones in the graphic below. The ones in the long section on bottom are old, and the date has passed.
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  3. You will want to view the document named “ARCHOICES-1-18route.doc”. Click on the blue link with that name (on the Medicaid website), and it will download the file for you.
  4. Open the file from your document downloads, if it doesn’t open automatically for you.
  5. At first glance, it may be difficult to understand, but try to read through it as best as you can. You might understand more than you think. (See below for more assistance.)
  6. After you read through it, you might want to send in some comments about how this will affect you. For example, you might want to comment on the use of the algorithm itself, or you might want to comment on how they would score you and how that method may cut your hours.
  7. You can choose to mail your comments, but the faster way is by email. You can send your comments in an email to becky.murphy@dhs.arkansas.gov, but be sure to reference which manual you’re commenting on in the subject line like “Public Comment Submission, ARCHOICES-1-18route.doc.”
  8. Make sure to do this before July 31, 2018!

If you were to make a comment, what would you say? Well, Disability Rights Arkansas has released their official comments that they have submitted. This is a great example that can help you with what you might want to say. Read through this very thorough comment that was written by a qualified and informed attorney, and it might help you make sense of ARCHOICES-1-18route.doc. You might also want to read the previous post about the update and comments from Legal Aid of Arkansas.

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PASSEs: Learn More

Everyone is wondering about the PASSEs. How can we find more information? Will I be affected? Well, the bad news is that there’s so much to know it’s overwhelming. But the good news is that MSL is here to help.

Let’s break it up into pieces. First let’s start with the info they’ve already given us and the resources available to us – gathered all in one place!


Resources

1. If you’re thinking, “I don’t even know what a PASSE is,” then you need to begin at the beginning with this post. It will help you understand what all of this means.

If you’re familiar with the PASSEs, but you have questions, proceed to resources 2 & 3.


2. DHS has a PASSE Choice Counseling line you can call. If you want to switch PASSEs, you can call this line. You can also call to report if you feel anyone with a PASSE is doing anything incorrectly or wrong, such as sharing information that you know to be incorrect or if one of them has tried to force you or persuade you to join their PASSE.

3. Last, every PASSE has a 24/7 help line for you to call as needed:

  • AR Total Care // 866-282-6280
  • Empower // 866-261-1286
  • ForevercARe // 855-544-8744
  • Summit Community Care // 844-405-4295

Info On Each PASSE

Each PASSE has a handbook where most of their information is held, and each one is different. The handbooks explain who the PASSEs are, important resources available to you, what your rights and responsibilities are with each PASSE, how you can appeal or file a grievance, and how to change to another PASSE. Some of them also list their networks, although none of them are complete at this time.

In addition to the handbooks, representatives from the PASSEs shared information about their groups at the AWA Conference a couple of weeks ago. Each of them had a presentation, and they are all available for you to see!

How can you contact them? Who are their partners? Who are they? Keep reading to find out!

Arkansas Total Care
  • John Ryan
    jryan@centene.com
    P.O. Box 25010 | Little Rock, AR 72221
    1-866-282-6280
  • This graphic shows their partners:

Empower Healthcare Solutions
  • Nicole May Nicole.May@beaconhealthoptions.com
    1401 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 330 | Little Rock, AR 72201
    1-866-261-1286
  • This graphic shows their partners:

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ForevercARe
  • Michael McCabe
    mmccabe@forevercarehealthplan.com
    400 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 1700 | Little Rock, AR 72201
    1-855-544-8744
  • This graphic shows their partners:

Summit Community Care
  • Jason Miller
    Jason.miller@summitcommunitycare.com
    425 W. Capitol Ave. Suite 233 | Little Rock, AR 72203
    1-844-405-4295
  • This graphic shows their partners:


Chew on this info, and we’ll have some more in depth information as soon as we can.

Upholding the ADA: Living in the Community

Everyone on the CES Waiver, all of you who enjoy having your loved one living near to you instead of in an institution, & providers who support waiver services:

The ability to live freely in the community has been questioned, according to this article, by a top official with the US Department of Health and Human Services, enough to alarm a group of Congressmen. They formed a bipartisan group and took action.


“The lawmakers said they were told that Lazare said she believed the Supreme Court came to the wrong conclusion in the landmark Olmstead v. L.C. case, which affirmed the right of people with disabilities to access community-based living, and that she prefers segregated and institutional settings. In addition, Lazare reportedly said she believed that a federal Medicaid rule outlining what types of settings qualify as community-based should be revisited, according to a letter from Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and Jim Langevin, D-R.I.”

Even when things are quiet in the news, someone in power is thinking these things. Maybe they want to save money, or possibly they think less of people with disabilities. Some in power think they have the means to change these protections. We need to always be communicating to our legislators why we want to live in the community or why we want our loved ones out in the community instead of institutions. We need to know our rights and assert them!

Laws that protect people with disabilities

The ADA National Network

Take a moment to make our Congressmen understand how much living in the community means to us. They are the ones who would have to fight a battle that threatens the ADA.

Contact our Arkansas Congressmen!!

Contact any US elected official!

Will I lose my Care Coordinator?

A big question that many people with developmental disabilities have is:

WILL I LOSE MY CARE COORDINATOR?

The not-so-simple answer is that no one can answer that right now. It depends on who your PASSE is, and how they decide to handle this.

DHS has released a presentation that explains what a Person Centered Service Plan is and what a care coordinator is, but here’s an explanation of what’s going on.

In 2008, a federal regulation went into effect requiring care coordination and case management to be done by different people, but Arkansas has continued in most cases allowing the same person to combine both jobs into one job. The rule is supposed to serve as a check & balance to protect people getting services. DHS says we won’t get anymore leniance, and we have to follow the “conflict-free case management” rule starting in 2019.

According to DHS, it has the financial records of all care coordination and case management hours spent, and it included that in the data used to determine what the big global payment will be. In order to be in compliance with federal regulation, DHS will require the PASSE to do 3 big duties to cover “care coordination” and make it become “conflict free.”

How will the rest work? DHS says that the money to pay for the big 3 “conflict free” duties AND the rest of the duties now called “case management” will be given to each PASSE in the global payment. So in other words, the global payment will not just cover services like therapies and supported living; the global payment will include administrative needs like case management that your provider has been doing for you. DHS will give the PASSEs that money in 2019 and allow them to choose how to spend it.

What does all of this mean?! Well, this basically means that your PASSE would choose whether or not to pay your current care coordinator, and the PASSE gets to choose whether or not you keep your same care coordinator (who would in 2019 be called your case manager).

Clear as mud? Thought so. Find out more below about what a care coordinator will do and what a Person Centered Service Plan is!

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Compare Medicaid in each State

Each and every state may have Medicaid, but it is not all run the same. According to ASHA, “State regulations and standards differ greatly in other areas of Medicaid, including:

  • provider requirements for Medicaid participation, credentialing, and supervision;
  • documentation requirements for plan of care approval, criteria for services, authorization, and reimbursement justification;
  • Medicaid audit process and penalties for errors;
  • use of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”

Make sure you’re aware of these differences. For example, TEFRA is an optional waiver that not all states carry, and if they do, they don’t utilize it the same. For example in Arkansas, if a child meets the health requirements, it is accessible for families, no matter their income, on a sliding pay scale. However, the way we understand its application may be specific to Arkansas. If you move, you may not have TEFRA at all.

So how can you know what’s available to you? Use the resources below to find out more about Medicaid and how it’s different across the US!

What if your state has limited resources? There may be more out there than you know. Look around at state and local resources. There are national programs, state benefits, foundations, organizations, and grants that may help you in a bind. For example, check out this list of foundations that assist for children’s special needs.

If Medicaid matters to you, please constantly tell your elected officials. The trend is to cut Medicaid and provide those funds elsewhere. Get the facts to boost your confidence, but don’t stop communicating! Tell your legislators why Medicaid saves you! Here are some ways we could see Medicaid change in coming years.

Each link leads to a different resource we’ve found to try to help you with info or tangible resources. MSL will add to this list as we find more!

AR Choices Update

Update on #ARChoices:

(1) Yesterday, the judge issued an order, which puts in writing his previous finding that DHS is in contempt of court.

(2) DHS has appealed the 5/14/18 ruling that invalidated the methodology to the Arkansas Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court is in summer recess.

(3) In the meantime, DHS does not want to go back to the previous method for determining how much care to give someone (by nurse determination instead of computer algorithm), and the federal government sent a letter to DHS stating that it would not approve that system either.

(4) As a result, everything is on hold. Current people on the program won’t be reassessed nor will people who have applied for the program. DHS also will not restore the hours of people whose hours were reduced under the methodology.

(5) DHS has said that a new algorithm will be adopted starting September 1, but the public comment process has not started on that. According to Legal Aid’s analysis, the new system will base its decisions on how much time it takes to complete particular tasks, but with limits, which will lead to a lot less hours approved.

Legal Aid of Arkansas welcomes anyone who is having issues with ARChoices to call (800) 967-9224 to seek legal help.