Arkansas Session 2019

The AR Legislative session has been going on a few weeks. They will be making important decisions that affect us. Here are some resources to help you stay up-to-date no matter where you live.

See the bills that have been filed:

The boxes are check for 2019. Just click Submit to see the latest list.

http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/SearchCenter/Pages/historicalbil.aspx

See today’s calendar to decide which committees you want to watch.

Public Health, Welfare, & Labor are committees for both Senate and House that discuss bills that affect Medicaid. Each meeting has an agenda, so you can see if the bill you care about is on the list for today.

http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2019/2019R/Pages/Home.aspx

Watch what’s going on right now:

(Business hours)

http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00316/Harmony/en/View/UpcomingEvents/20190208/-1

Watch previous sessions and committees:

Bills travel to different committees, to the House, and Senate before they hit the Governor’s desk. You might want to go back to see how your legislators voted or if they discussed your concerns in the meetings.

http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00316/Harmony/en/View/RecentEnded/20190208/-1

Make an Impact with 2 Simple Words

This holiday season, you can make an impact with 2 simple words: Thank you.

Especially if you’re a Medicaid recipient, let the people in charge know that we need Medicaid, and let them know what it does for us. Tell them thank you, and ask them to keep directing funding to Medicaid. Send them a photo of the person who is helped by Medicaid.

This is what advocacy is. It’s so easy! Just speak up for what matters to you.

Here’s how:

Email DHS Director Gillespie

Email Governor Hutchinson:

other contact: governor.arkansas.gov/online-services/contact-us

Email any State Congressperson

Contact any Federal Congressman

Contact any elected official

ARChoices: Update From Legal Aid

This is an update from Kevin De Liban from Legal Aid of Arkansas. He wants to help us understand the latest on ARChoices.


Just a quick update on yesterday’s meeting in the legislature. The Public Health committee gave the RUGs algorithm an unfavorable review, meaning that the committee thinks that DHS should not adopt the RUGs algorithm. At least 4 people on the ARChoices program were present and testified before the legislators, as well as parent caregivers, advocates, case managers, and care agencies. These voices–especially the people on the ARChoices program–let the legislators know the details about how the RUGs algorithm has hurt many beneficiaries. Here is a newspaper article about the meeting.

That is not the end of the process. The RUGs algorithm now goes to the Rules and Regulations Subcommittee on Tuesday, September 18, at 1 p.m. in Room A of the MAC Building. The agenda includes a list of the legislators on the committee as well as other details.

Public comment will be accepted at this meeting. If the Rules subcommittee votes against the RUGs algorithm, it should be the end of it. But, there are some technicalities involved, and I have no way of knowing what the likely outcome is. Whatever happens, it’s inspiring to see how all sorts of people in different situations have been working in their own ways for justice on this issue.


How to contact Kevin with concerns or questions:

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

How to Best Communicate with Legislators

read the artic

If you can’t see the graphic above, you can read the article.

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.

Take Action: June Legislative Committee Meetings

Update (6/5/18): The rules were approved in the Public Health joint committee and will be next voted upon by the ALC Rules & Regulations Joint Committee on Tuesday, June 12 at 1pm in Little Rock. Contact the committee members. Read below to catch up if you wonder which issues are being voted upon.


Original post: MSL has announced on Facebook that this committee meeting would be occurring on June 4th and that it was moved to Jonesboro. Here is some information to help you to understand what’s happening when, and what you need to do.

If you’re lost and need to catch up, you can watch a video we previously released on the subject.

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 10.01.07 PM

Several important issues are being discussed that affect children as well as adults:

Here is how you can contact the people of the Public Health Committee:

2018 Election Info

It’s election season! In fact, early voting for primaries has begun. That means it’s time for you to do some homework and make decisions about which issues are most important to you. Sometimes your values on different issues may clash, which is why it’s important to rank one of them as most important to you.

Medicaid is a hot topic. We’ve seen a lot of change, and depending on the officials we elect, we may see even more. That’s why it’s important to be informed about election deadlines, requirements, and the candidates.


Your first question might be:

Who’s running?

Click here to find out.


Next you’re probably asking:

What are the deadlines?

Elections for the office of Arkansas House of Representatives will take place soon!

  • candidate filing deadline – March 1, 2018.
  • primary election – May 22, 2018.
  • primary runoff election – June 19, 2018.
  • general election – November 6, 2018.

All 100 House seats are up for election in 2018. Arkansas state representatives serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years.

Elections for the office of Arkansas State Senate are also happening soon.

  • candidate filing deadline – March 1, 2018,
  • primary election – May 22, 2018.
  • primary runoff election – June 19, 2018.
  • general election – November 6, 2018.

A total of 18 seats out of the chamber’s 35 seats are up for election in 2018.Arkansas state senators serve one two-year term and two four-year terms each decade.

Arkansas will also hold elections for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor, and Treasurer on November 6, 2018. The candidate filing deadline was March 1, 2018.

The 2018 U.S. House of Representatives will hold elections

  • candidate filing deadline – March 1, 2018,
  • primary election – May 22, 2018.
  • general election – November 6, 2018.

Arkansans elect representatives to the U.S. House, one from each of the state’s four congressional districts.


How can I be informed about the candidates?

As candidates are campaigning, make sure you take every opportunity to inform yourself. Know what questions to ask!


Have I met the requirements to vote?

Voter Registration

To register to vote in Arkansas you should provide one of the following:

  • The Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number
  • Your Arkansas Driver’s License Number

If you do not have any of these IDs, you can provide a copy of one of the following with your registration application:

  • Current and Valid Photo ID
  • Government Issued Document that shows your current name and address
  • Utility Bill
  • Government Check
  • Bank Statement
  • Paycheck that Shows your current name and address

You can alternatively provide one of these documents when you vote to complete your registration.

Voting In-Person

In Arkansas, you need to show a valid ID to vote. You can use any ID from this list:

  • Paycheck that shows your Current Name and Address
  • Current and Valid Photo ID
  • Utility Bill
  • Bank Statement
  • Government Check
  • Government Issued Document that shows your Current Name and Address
  • Veteran Health ID Issued by US Department of Veterans Affairs

Where should I vote?

Find out.


Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

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.

Tax Reform Bill: How to Contact AR Senators


Watch the video above to get all of the contact information to get contact information and tips.

Other helpful links:

https://www.npr.org/templates/event/embeddedVideo.php?storyId=567758536&mediaId=567762951

Understanding the House Tax Bill

Taxes affect our daily lives, and the House is working on a bill to “reform the tax code.” If taxes are drastically altered, it won’t just affect our personal taxes; Medicaid funding could be affected as well. For example, Senator Cotton called for the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate through tax reform. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of what’s happening.

A House committee released the bill, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” this afternoon, and it’s a very long read. 

This is just a first version. They will revise the bill and try to pass it through the House by Thanksgiving to send to the Senate in order for it to take affect by January 1, 2018. 

Take the time to try to understand it and respond if necessary. Here are a few articles to help you understand what’s going on:

Make sure you understand this for yourself, and contact your U.S. Senators with your questions, concerns, and comments!