PASSE: 4 Things You Can Do

On Feb 27, a judge denied a restraining order and request to intervene, which would have stopped the PASSE program from starting on March 1.

Some people did not understand the decision or how the judge could process the information and testimony so quickly.

He apparently made the decision based on pure law, saying that the plaintiffs hadn’t shown proof that the start of the program on March 1 would cause them the “irreparable harm” needed to justify such a restraining order.

Since the case will remain open, they may still get the chance to prove that harm later on (although for the sake of the 40,000 people affected, we all hope they don’t see irreparable harm.)

The judge ruled (for now), but you still have things you can do.

What can you do now?

1. Make sure you join the group to let others know what’s going on in your life.

2. If you’re affected by the PASSE, make sure you email Disability Rights Arkansas if you’re seeing problems with the PASSE. If they want to revisit this complaint, they will need a lot of proof to stop the PASSE program. If you’re denied a service, let them know. If your Care Coordinator does a bad job, let DRA know. Email TNichols@disabilityrightsar.org.

3. Also, keep these numbers handy. Make your complaints to the Ombudsman 1-844-843-7351, and send an email with your issues to PASSEOmbudsmanOffice@dhs.arkansas.gov. They have to log them. Every time a provider isn’t in network, or a provider doesn’t know about the PASSE, let your PASSE and the Ombudsman know. If a service is denied, let the Ombudsman know how this will impact you. Most emails and records like this can be subject to requests and investigation, so get them on the record.

4. If you are denied a service you need, make sure you file an appeal immediately. Every PASSE has a different process and rules on their website. If the PASSE denies your appeal, you can then appeal to DHS.

Arkansas Total Care – How to Appeal

Empower – How to Appeal

Summit (APC) – How to Appeal (pg 5)


If the PASSE program does end up doing harm to the people, we will all have to work together to stand up. Don’t wait until that happens. Make sure you’re communicating all along.

Judge rules on PASSE lawsuit (Updated)

Medicaid recipients, parents, advocates, and providers made their best effort on Wednesday, Feb 27 to stop or delay the PASSE program from starting.

What happened?

In addition to the residential association’s complaint that drove the hearing, some plaintiffs, including a parent of a child on DD waiver along with a person who receives behavioral health services, assisted by Disability Rights Arkansas, also requested a motion to intervene. They issued a brief in support of their argument and exhibits.

For the restraining order, the original complaint was filed. Then DHS responded by filing their argument, and the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint.

After hours of testimony for and against the PASSE at the hearing Wednesday, Judge Piazza of the Pulaski County Circuit Court ruled that the PASSE program can move forward on Friday.

The judge ordered the case to remain open for 6 months to allow plaintiffs to renew their request. The plaintiffs could choose to appeal the decision.

Some people did not understand the decision or how the judge could process the information and testimony so quickly. However, he apparently made the decision based on pure law, saying that the plaintiffs hadn’t shown proof that the start of the program on March 1 would cause them the “irreparable harm” needed to justify such a restraining order. Since the case will remain open, they may still get the chance to prove that harm later on (although for the sake of the 40,000 people affected, we all hope they don’t see irreparable harm.)

What did the lawsuit say?

The lawsuit was filed on Feb 21 to stop the transition to managed care, set to start this coming Friday, March 1 that will change the way services are covered for over 40,000 Arkansans who have significant mental illness or developmental disabilities.  

The lawsuit says DHS has refused to do anything about the warnings that the 3 managed care companies planning to participate in the program won’t be ready to take over responsibility for the recipients care March 1.  

Read here DHS full response to the lawsuit, but one of the many reasons it lists why the PASSE program should not be delayed:

“DHS will demonstrate that approximately $1 billion will go to the PASSEs annually in global payments. The proceeds from the premium tax, 2.5%, are expected to generate approximately $25 million dollars each year, which may then be used to pull down federal matching funds. Arkansas’s current federal match rate is 70.51%, which means for every thirty cents the state puts into the program, the federal government puts in seventy cents. The simple math demonstrates that the $25 million in premium taxes will generate approximately $85 million in available spending annually. To break it down further, every day of additional delay will result in approximately $232,000 lost, or $1.63 million per week, or $7.08 million per month.”

Plaintiffs argued that the PASSEs are not ready, that clients had not even received their PASSE insurance cards, that billing plans were insufficient, while the state argued that evidence shows it is ready to move forward.

What do you think?

Reaction by affected families and providers to the lawsuit was mixed in MSL’s social media group. Many families wished to see the program stopped, but a few said they were ready to see it move forward.

“I have heard about the lawsuit about PASSE. They may not be starting on March 1st. The date seems to be getting moved further and further away. Every time we get used to the idea the date changes. If we have to make the change, let’s do it sooner than later.”

“If they are not prepared. I say move the date. Any large change in a program takes time to implement safely. Change should be slow… to insure quality.”

Make sure you join the group to let us know what you think!

What can you do now?

If you are affected by the PASSE, make sure you email Disability Rights Arkansas if you’re seeing problems with the PASSE. If they want to revisit this complaint, they will need a lot of proof to stop the PASSE program. Email TNichols@disabilityrightsar.org.

Also, keep these numbers handy. Make your complaints to the Ombudsman 1-844-843-7351, and send an email with your issues to PASSEOmbudsmanOffice@dhs.arkansas.gov. They have to log them. Most emails and records like this can be subject to requests and investigation, so get them on the record.

Lawsuit filed to stop the PASSEs from taking over on March 1

Update – as of 7:15pm, we still don’t have a ruling. They have been in the hearing since 1pm.

Some of you have been raising concerns for the past year about the PASSE model, and just days before it is set to begin, a lawsuit has been filed with a ruling that should happen on Wednesday.

The lawsuit has been filed to stop the transition to managed care, set to start this coming Friday, that will change the way services are covered for over 40,000 Arkansans who have significant mental illness or developmental disabilities.  

The lawsuit says DHS has refused to do anything about the warnings that the 3 managed care companies planning to participate in the program won’t be ready to take over responsibility for the recipients care March 1.  

Many of those affected have said that care coordinators aren’t trained well among many other worries. Providers say they won’t be able to bill starting March 1.

Click below to read the actual lawsuit.

What’s the PASSE Ombudsman?

The PASSE Ombudsman is supposed to be there to help us when our PASSE isn’t.

These are people employed by DHS, not by the PASSEs.

If you have a complaint against your PASSE, your care coordinator, your Independent Assessment Tier, or if something just isn’t getting solved, you might want to try calling the Ombudsman. Call 1-844-843-7351 if you need help.

Preferred Family Health Closure Update

This is a letter that went out to beneficiaries who received services at PFH to notify them of PFH’s closure. Some of you may be interested in this information as well as this link which lists the available providers. Please note the PDF is searchable!

PFH_LETTER

PASSE: Take Action!


The PASSE system was voted in by our legislature last year. Right now, we’re in what they call “Phase I,” and during that time, the PASSEs will manage care for their clients, but Medicaid will keep paying the bills. Then in January 2019, we move into “Phase II,” and the PASSEs’ decisions about our care will matter. In January, DHS/Medicaid will give the PASSEs the money and allow them to decide how to use it.


If you need a reminder, the PASSE stands for Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity, and like insurance companies, they will be covering the care for tiers 2 & 3, what DHS considers to be higher level need, of behavioral health and developmental disability services.

DHS has assigned thousands of people to the 4 licensed PASSEs after each person’s Independent Assessment completion. If you are affected, you will likely first receive a letter or some sort of notification to schedule an Independent Assessment.

If you have questions, DHS has a PASSE counseling line: 1-833-402-0672. They also have regional people you can talk to.

MSL is actively working to get you more information on the PASSEs themselves. Now that details are coming together, we should be able to get more. The information we have so far is listed below in steps that should help you.


These changes may be happening to you or a loved one, but you can do these 8 things to help yourself in this new process:

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

It’s important that you ask your provider to join every PASSE. What if next year, you need to switch PASSEs because of a bad experience, but your provider isn’t in any other PASSE? If they choose to join only one PASSE, you could be forced to make a decision between 2 (or more) providers you really like. What if your trusted Cardiologist who did your surgery is in only one PASSE and your Therapist who you’ve been with for years is only in another? You might have to choose. However, even after you ask your provider to join all PASSEs, they may still choose to join only one because they have invested in that PASSE or simply because it’s a business decision. They have that right, but you still have to look out for what’s best for you; for the people whose care and services will be managed by the PASSEs, it’s best for us to have as much choice and freedom as possible. The only way you can have that is when providers give you choices by joining all PASSEs. Some PASSEs have said they will pay for out-of-network costs or make special agreements, but that’s probably only for providers you don’t see often.

DHS said 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 following 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 info about the PASSEs. The last 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 Phase I
  • Resource that explains PASSE Phase II and updates
  • Resource for providers that explains why and 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)
  • Amerigroup Partnership Plan LLC
  • http://www.summitcommunitycare.com
  • Their HANDBOOK (rules, your rights, and information)
  • Network Provider Directory
  • Jason Miller
    Jason.miller@summitcommunitycare.com
  • 425 W. Capitol Ave. Suite 233 | Little Rock, AR 72203
  • 1-844-405-4295
ForevercARe

3. Join a PASSE Advisory Committee.

Each PASSE is required by Act 775 (pg 9, line 21) to have a Consumer Advisory Council to give them feedback. They know how things are supposed to happen, but it’s up to you to keep them informed of what’s really happening.

Call your care coordinator to join your PASSE’s 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. DHS is also going to offer open enrollment in October 2018. We will continue to provide more info as we can!

Also, DHS will have open enrollment in March 2019 for all current members. During that time, you will be allowed to switch to another PASSE, and by then, we should know more.


5. If you don’t agree with your assessment results, which you should receive in the mail, know you can appeal.

You have rights, and you can appeal DHS decisions. This is a very new process, and assessors can make mistakes. Check this post to see what your rights are and how to file an appeal. Watch our Q & A with Disability Rights where we answered common questions.


6. 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.


7. 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:


8. 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.

How to Make a Public Comment Before Sept. 12, 2018

DHS notified the public of some proposed rule changes on several issues. You have the opportunity to take action and make a public comment until September 12, 2018 on those documents. How would one choose to make a public comment about the many issues that are changing? Watch the video for more details!

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 September 12, 2018. The 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.

3. You will want to view the documents. 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.

6. After you read through it, you might want to send in some comments about how this will affect you. For example in the PASSE manual, you might want to comment on what the PASSE is required to cover.

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.

8. Make sure to do this before September 12, 2018!

9. You can also choose to go to a public comment and say your comments there:

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:

img_5564

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.

PASSE – Phase II Updates

CBDBCDE3-D211-4188-B125-634849764A84

DHS recently released a new presentation with updates to their work on the PASSEs Phase II. This includes milestones and network adequacy standards, and where they are with Independent Assessments.

They did listen to our concern that people have been enrolled before the networks were adequately formed, and they will hold open enrollment in October of 2018.

Catch up on all previous PASSE posts!

Your Rights When You Appeal

We appeared live on Facebook with Managing Attorney Thomas Nichols from Disability Rights Arkansas to answer your questions and discuss your rights when appealing a Medicaid decision. Watch because this video is full of helpful information from beginning to end!

Thomas refers to a presentation with more information on appeals that you might want to view.

When filing an appeal, you have resources in the state to help you. Even if you can’t afford it, you can find quality lawyers or law advice. Make sure to contact:

Also, we reference Rights that we listed in a previous post. Make sure to read it.