New Medicaid Dental Plan

Updated 1/3/18 09:30

 You may have received a letter telling you that your Dental plan has changed. That’s because Arkansas Medicaid has moved their dental coverage to managed care. There are 2 companies: Delta Dental and MCNA. You will be assigned to one, and you have 90 days to switch.

We requested information on the change,  and this was DHS’ response:

The Arkansas Department of Human Services is changing its dental program. Beginning January 1, 2018, two companies will provide dental coverage for families enrolled in Medicaid. Those companies are:

  1. Delta Dental of Arkansas
  2. Managed Care of North America (MCNA)

There will be no changes to the dental services that are covered. Families will be assigned to one of the two companies in December 2017 and will get new dental cards and a welcome packet in the mail for each enrolled family member.
 
If members want to switch to the other company, they will have 90 days to do so. 
Families can begin scheduling appointments for covered dental services after January 1, 2018. Information about what is covered will be in the welcome packet.
 
Clients living in Human Development Centers, individuals enrolled in the Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and individuals who are eligible for Medicaid only after incurring medical expenses that cause them to “spend down” to Medicaid eligibility levels will not be enrolled in a dental plan.

It is important to note that as new beneficiaries apply for Arkansas Medicaid benefits, if they qualify for dental benefits, it will take between 15 and 45 days for them to be assigned to a plan and for the plan to complete the enrollment process.  

Then we requested information on the difference between the companies, and this is what DHS said about the new dental plans:

The benefits are identical and the number of dentists in each network is very close to the same (within 1%). The only real difference I can recommend is for the client to check to see if their preferred dentist is in the network to which they were assigned. If confirmed, I suggest they stay with that plan. If not, they should check with the other option to see if their preferred dentist is in that network and they will have until the end of March to change plans if they want to.

Both companies are very good at what they do and have been excellent partners for us to work with.

We also asked DHS to address the rumor that ACH Dentists won’t be covered:

Delta Dental AR has 12 of 17 dental providers at ACH credentialed and in the network. The other five have submitted their applications and are undergoing the credentialing process with the expectation that they will also be admitted to the Delta network. They added that MCNA has also had a meeting with ACH, so we can hopefully expect them to cover ACH dentists as well.

After the new year, DHS sent us more clarifying information on the providers who are included:


[We want to] share the details below to demonstrate how very close the dental provider counts are between the two managed dental care organizations now serving Medicaid clients. MCNA received slightly fewer enrollees due to assignments happening by family (keeping family members in the same plan) but the total number of providers in each network varied by 1 last month. Both companies are continuing to enroll providers including ACH.

On 12/15/17 (the last phase of the auto assignment period) a total of 610,945 beneficiaries were assigned to our two dental managed care companies as follows:

  • MCNA – 304,789
  • Delta Dental of Arkansas – 306,156

As you know, there will be some movement as beneficiaries work through their 90 day choice period.

As of 12/20/17 the two MCO’s have contracted with, or have contracts pending for the following number of dental providers:

  • MCNA
  • Contracts complete – 646
  • Contracts pending – 60
  • 706 Dental Providers


  • Delta Dental of Arkansas
  • Contracts complete – 673
  • Contracts pending – 34
  • 707 Dental Providers




Independent Assessment: How to Be Prepared

Every single person who is a Tier 2 or Tier 3 and receives Medicaid services for a Developmental disability or a Behavioral health issue will undergo an Independent Assessment. This means you need to understand what it is and what will happen. MSL has gathered some resources to help you be prepared:


IMPORTANT INFORMATION

First of all, you’re probably asking, which Tier am I in? Click the link to find out!

If you are Tier 2 or 3, you will receive a notification letter about your assessment. It may come from a company you don’t recognize, but make sure to look for a letter and read carefully for the words Independent Assessment. Once you receive a letter, you will soon receive a phone call to schedule a meeting.

You are allowed to take people with you in these assessments, such as a parent or provider. The assessment itself can take from one hour to three hours. It is critical carefully consider and answer the questions because they determine your Tier placement.

Once your assessment is finished, you will have to wait to receive results. Once they are compiled, both you and your primary provider will receive a copy.


THINGS THAT CAN HELP

DHS has released the following resources to assist you or a loved one in preparation for these Independent Assessments. MSL has gathered it all in one place for you:

  • Read the full assessment itself in PDF form
  • View a presentation to explain the DDS changes
  • View a presentation on IAs for providers
  • Read the training that has been sent to PCPs

The two power point presentations may be of help what is taking place within the DD service system.  Additional information may also be found at the following website https://www.medicaid.state.ar.us/general/programs/passe.aspx.

Click on each image to access the resource.

The Full Independent Assessment people will get:Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 11.34.00 AM


Presentation for Individuals, Families, and Staff:

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 11.45.56 AM


Presentation for Providers:

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 11.56.46 AM


Training that was sent to all PCPs:

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 12.00.05 PM


Previous related MSL posts:

Independent Assessment Manuals

 

 

What Tier Would I Be Placed In?

Certain people who receive Medicaid through Developmental Disability Services and/or Behavioral Health Services will be contacted about an Independent Assessment – only Tiers 2 and 3. Read the following situations to decide where you might fit:

Developmental Disability Service Tiers

Tier 1:
Individual receives DD services under the Medicaid State Plan (DDTCS, CHMS, therapy, etc.), but does not
meet ICF/IID level of care eligibility

Tier 2:
Individual meets ICF/IID level of care eligibility, but does not currently require 24 hours/day of paid support
and services to maintain his or her current placement

Tier 3:
Individual meets ICF/IID level of care eligibility and does require 24 hours/day of paid support and services to maintain his or her current placement


Behavioral Health Services Tiers

Tier 1: Counseling

Time-limited services provided by a qualified licensed practitioner in an outpatient setting to assess and
treat mental health and/or substance abuse conditions

Tier 2: Rehabilitative

Home and community-based services with care coordination including a full array of professional and para- professional services for individuals with higher needs. Services provided by certified behavioral health agency staff members.

Tier 3: Residential

Services provided in residential setting for individuals with the highest need

Solution to Denied PAs for Therapy Providers

MSL has been made aware that there’s a lot of confusion on submitting PAs to request more than 90 minutes of therapy for children since the therapy cap was implemented on July 1, 2017. Lainey has talked with AFMC and DHS as well as the OT Association President who has been successful in submissions.


You need a separate statement letter that answers the following questions individual to the child’s case:

1. How does the therapy administered effectively treat the beneficiary’s condition?

2. What gives you a reasonable expectation that the beneficiary is experiencing meaningful improvement or that the therapy is preventing worsening of the beneficiary’s current condition?

3. How are the frequency, intensity, and duration of the requested therapy services realistic for the age of the child?

List the question and provide the answer. Make sure you provide the other information listed there as well. AFMC told Lainey today that they will deny any submission that does not have this requirement. If you have received denial with 3 statements that say you didn’t meet the requirement, try resubmitting with this.






Making Sense of the Manuals for Public Comment

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 10.36.45 AMDHS released several manuals to the Medicaid website on July 13, 2017 that are available for public comment until August 11. Once public comment ends, these rules will be sent through the legislative committees and passed as law.

“In accordance with federal and state law, the Division of Medical Services of the Arkansas Department of Human Services must advertise and make available for public comment proposed new and amended rules and other documents, such as certain initial waiver requests and waiver renewals.”

However, they released over 60 documents actually, which may have left you feeling confused about which one needs your comment or what’s in them all. Here’s your guide to wading through the state terminology and legalese.


RULE #1: When you send in your comments, make sure to list the document that you wish to comment on!

RULE #2: Make sure you send your comments to the appropriate person.


Send your comments to Shelby.Maldonado@dhs.arkansas.gov, and as long as you’ve included the right document title, she will be able to direct it to the correct person.

  • If you’re viewing this on a phone or tablet, you might want to turn it to the side (landscape) to view the width of the table well. The right 2 columns are what MSL has added to help with the list that DHS provided.

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Instead of scrolling through the long table, which can be confusing, this list of topics can get you straight to what you want to see. Click the link to go directly to the corresponding manual in the table.

 


The following table will attempt to explain what each document is (memo, explanation letter, mark up with changes, or new manual), what it contains, and possibly some documents to assist you. Remember, the list of topics above can assist you in finding what you need much faster.

Document Title Document Description Assisting docs/info
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for DDS Standards for Certification, Investigation and Monitoring; State Plan Amendment 2017-011; Child Health Management Services provider manual update; and Developmental Day Treatment Clinic Services provider manual update IPLtrSPA17-011.doc memo
(SPA011 – 1 of 15)
State Plan Amendment 2017-011 Attachment 3.1A 1i SPA17-011-31A1i.doc STATE PLAN UNDER TITLE XIX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT: AMOUNT, DURATION AND SCOPE OF
SERVICES PROVIDED, CATEGORICALLY NEEDY (page as it will appear in new manual)
(SPA011 – 2 of 15) Page 1i
State Plan Amendment 2017-011 Attachment 3.1A 1i with tracked changes SPA17-011-31A1i-markup.doc SAME MANUAL PAGE: mark up that shows changes
(SPA011 – 3 of 15) Page 1i
State Plan Amendment 2017-011 Attachment 3.1A 4A SPA17-011-31A4A.doc STATE PLAN UNDER TITLE XIX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT: AMOUNT, DURATION AND SCOPE OF
SERVICES PROVIDED, CATEGORICALLY NEEDY (page as it wil appear in new manual)
(SPA011 – 4 of 15) Page 4a
State Plan Amendment 2017-011 Attachment 3.1A 4A with tracked changes SPA17-011-31A4A-markup.doc SAME MANUAL PAGE: mark up that shows changes
(SPA011 – 5 of 15) Page 4a
State Plan Amendment 2017-011 Attachment 3-1B 2h SPA17-011-31B2h.doc STATE PLAN UNDER TITLE XIX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT: AMOUNT, DURATION AND SCOPE OF
SERVICES PROVIDED, MEDICALLY NEEDY (page as it wil appear in new manual)
(SPA011 – 6 of 15) Page 2h
State Plan Amendment 2017-011 Attachment 3-1B 2h SPA17-011-31B2h-markup.doc SAME MANUAL PAGE: mark up that shows changes
(SPA011 – 7 of 15) Page 2h
State Plan Amendment 2017-011 SPA17-011-31B4b.doc STATE PLAN UNDER TITLE XIX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT: AMOUNT, DURATION AND SCOPE OF
SERVICES PROVIDED, MEDICALLY NEEDY (page as it wil appear in new manual)
(SPA011 – 8 of 15) Page 4b
State Plan Amendment 2017-011 SPA17-011-31B4b-markup.doc SAME MANUAL PAGE: mark up that shows changes 1. IA Public Notice
2. IA Manual Summary
3. IA fiscal Impact
(SPA011 – 9 of 15) Page 4b
DDS Standards for Certification, Investigation and Monitoring – Redline DDS-Stnds-Redline.doc DDS STANDARDS for Certification, Investigation, an Monitoring for Center-Based Community Services  1. Summary DDTCS-CHMS 2. Info
(SPA011 – 10 of 15) entire manual, mark up that shows changes
DDS Standards for Certification, Investigation and Monitoring DDS-Stnds-Clean.doc DDS STANDARDS for Certification, Investigation, an Monitoring for Center-Based Community Services
(SPA011 – 11 of 15) entire manual, as it will appear
CHMS-2-17 Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter CHMS-2-17.doc letter that explains which parts of the CHMS manual have been changed
(SPA011 – 12 of 15)
CHMS-2-17 Provider Manual Update CHMS-2-17up.doc CHMS Manual mark up with changes. 1. Summary DDTCS-CHMS 2. Info
(SPA011 – 13 of 15)
DDTCS-2-17 Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter DDTCS-2-17.doc letter that explains which parts of the DDTCS manual have been changed
(SPA011 – 14 of 15)
DDTCS-2-17 Provider Manual Update DDTCS-2-17up.doc DDTCS Manual mark up with changes. 1. Summary DDTCS-CHMS 2. Info
(SPA011 – 15 of 15)
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for State Plan Amendment 2017-010, Outpatient Behavioral Health Services and Inpatient Psychiatric Provider Manual Updates and Residential Community Reintegration Program Certification IPLtrSPA17-010.doc memo
(SPA010 – 1 of 8)
State Plan Amendment 2017-010 Attachment 3.1 A SPA010-Attach3-1A.doc STATE PLAN UNDER TITLE XIX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT: AMOUNT, DURATION AND SCOPE OF
SERVICES PROVIDED, CATEGORICALLY NEEDY (page as it will appear in new manual – NO MARK UP AVAILABLE)
(SPA010 – 2 of 8) Page 6c17a
State Plan Amendment 2017-010 Attachment 3.1 B SPA010-Attach3-1B.doc STATE PLAN UNDER TITLE XIX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT: AMOUNT, DURATION AND SCOPE OF
SERVICES PROVIDED, MEDICALLY NEEDY (page as it will appear in new manual – NO MARK UP AVAILABLE)
(SPA010 – 3 of 8) Page 5f17a
Residential Community Integration Program Certification ResCommReintCert.doc Residential Community Integration Program Certification
(SPA010 – 4 of 8) entire manual as it will appear NO MARK UP AVAILABLE
Inpatient Psychiatric (INPPSYCH-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter INPPSYCH-1-17.doc Letter that shows the changes to Manual Update for Inpatient Psychiatric Services for Under Age 21
(SPA010 – 5 of 8)
INPPSYCH-1-17 Provider Manual Update INPPSYCH-1-17up.doc Manual Update for Inpatient Psychiatric Services for Under Age 21
(SPA010 – 6 of 8) entire manual as it will appear NO MARK UP AVAILABLE
Outpatient Behavioral Health Services (OBHS-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter OBHS-1-17.doc Letter that shows the changes to Manual Update for Outpatient Behavioral Health Services
(SPA010 – 7 of 8)
OBHS-1-17 Provider Manual Update OBHS-1-17up.doc Manual Update for Outpatient Behavioral Health Services
(SPA010 – 8 of 8) entire manual, mark up that shows changes
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for Independent Assessment Manual IPLtrAR_IA.doc memo
(AR_IA – 1 of 2)
AR Independent Assessment Manual AR_IA_July_17.doc New manual for Independent Assessment 1. IA Public Notice
2. IA Manual Summary
3. IA fiscal Impact
(AR_IA – 2 of 2)
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for DDS Policy 1076 -Appeals IPLtrDDS1076.doc memo
(1076 – 1 of 3)
DDS Policy 1076 with Tracked Changes DDS1076-Appeals-markup.doc DDS Policy APPEALS Manual
(1076 – 2 of 3) entire manual, mark up that shows changes 1. Summary Appeals
2. Info Policy 1076 Appeals
DDS Policy 1076 -Clean DDS1076-Appeals-clean.doc DDS Policy APPEALS Manual
(1076 – 3 of 3) entire manual, as it will appear
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for DDS Policy 1086 IPLtrDDS1086.doc memo
(DDS1086 – 1 of 3)
DDS Policy 1086 with tracked changes DDS1086-HDC-markup.doc DDS Human Development Center Admission and Discharge Rules Policy Manual
(DDS1086 – 2 of 3) entire manual, mark up that shows changes 1. 1086 HDC Rules Summary

2. 1086 Info

DDS Policy 1086 DDS1086-HDC.doc DDS Human Development Center Admission and Discharge Rules Policy Manual
(DDS1086 – 3 of 3) entire manual, as it will appear
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for Medical Services Policy Manual Sections E-600 through E-670 and Appendix R IPLtrABLE.doc memo
(ABLE – 1 of 2)
Medical Services Policy Manual Sections E-600 through E-670 and Appendix R ABLE.pdf Able Act Policy Manual: Eligibility Factors, Contributions, Withdrawals, Expenses, Exclusions,
(ABLE – 2 of 2) entire manual, as it will appear – NO MARK UP AVAILABLE
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for Community and Employment (CES) 1915 (c) Waiver, DDSCES-1-17 Provider Manual Update and Certification Standards for CES Providers IPLtrDDSCES.doc memo C Waiver
(CES – 1 of 5)
DDS Community and Employment Supports (CES) Waiver Minimum Certification Standards DDSCESCertStand-markup.doc DDS Community and Employment Supports (CES) Waiver Minimum Certification Standards
(CES – 2 of 5) entire manual, mark up that shows changes 1. Summary of Changes

2. Info – CES Waiver

DDS Community and Employment Supports (CES) Waiver Minimum Certification Standards DDSCESCertStand.doc DDS Community and Employment Supports (CES) Waiver Minimum Certification Standards
(CES – 3 of 5) entire manual, as it will appear
Developmental Disabilities Services Community and Employment Supports (DDSCES1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter DDSCES-1-17.doc Letter that shows the changes to Manual Update for Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – DDS Community and Employment Supports (CES)
(CES – 4 of 5)
DDSCES-1-17 Provider Manual DDSCES-1-17up.doc Manual Update for Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – DDS Community and Employment Supports (CES)
(CES – 5 of 5) entire manual, mark up that shows changes 1. Summary of Changes
2. Info – CES Waiver
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for Provider-Led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity (PASSE) Waiver and New Provider Manual IPLtrPASSE.doc memo
(PASSE 1 of 5)
Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity Program – Phase I PASSEWvr.pdf PASSE Program Information B Waiver
1. Summary of PASSE
2. Info & Financial Impact
(PASSE 2 of 5)
Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity Spreadsheet SpreadsheetPASSEWvr.pdf PASSE Information – Enrollment Projections, Costs
(PASSE 3 of 5)
PASSE-New-17 Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter PASSE-New-17.doc letter that explains Provider-Led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity (PASSE) Program manual
(PASSE 4 of 5)
PASSE-New-17 Provider Manual Update PASSE-New-17up.doc New PASSE Manual
(PASSE 5 of 5) entire manual, mark up 1. Summary of PASSE
2. Info & Financial Impact
Interested Persons and Providers Letter for Independent Assessment for Personal Care and Criminal Background Check Requirements for Providers IPLtrIA.doc memo
(IA – 1 of 22)
State Plan Amendment 2017-009 with Tracked Changes SPA17-009-markup.doc STATE PLAN UNDER TITLE XIX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT: AMOUNT, DURATION AND SCOPE OF
SERVICES PROVIDED, CATEGORICALLY NEEDY (mark up that shows changes
(IA – 2 of 22) Page 10aa
State Plan Amendment 2017-009 SPA17-009.doc SAME MANUAL PAGE: as it will appear
(IA – 2 of 22) Page 10aa
ARChoices in Home Care Home and Community-Based 2176 Waiver (ARCHOICES-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter ARCHOICES-1-17.doc letter that explains changes to ARChoices In Homecare Home and Community-Based 2176 Waiver Manual
(IA – 3 of 22)
ARCHOICES-1-17 Provider Manual Update ARCHOICES-1-17up.doc ARChoices In Homecare Home and Community-Based 2176 Waiver Manual
(IA – 4 of 22) entire manual, mark up that shows changes
Child Health Services/Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter EPSDT-1-17.doc letter that explains changes to Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – EPSDT Manual
(IA – 5 of 22)
EPSDT-1-17 Provider Manual Update EPSDT-1-17up.doc Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – EPSDT Manual change
(IA – 6 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes IA required for certain home health clients
1. IA Public Notice
2. IA Manual Summary
3. IA fiscal Impact
Home Health (HOMEHLTH-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter HOMEHLTH-1-17.doc letter that explains changes to Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – Home Health Manual
(IA – 7 of 22)
HOMEHLTH-1-17 Provider Manual Update HOMEHLTH-1-17up.doc Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – Home Health Manual change
(IA – 8 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes background check changes
Hospice (HOSPICE-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter HOSPICE-1-17.doc letter that explains changes to Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – Hospice Service manual
(IA – 9 of 22)
HOSPICE-1-17 Provider Manual Update HOSPICE-1-17up.doc Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – Hospice Service manual changes
(IA – 10 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes background check, IAs for personal care
1. IA Public Notice
2. IA Manual Summary
3. IA fiscal Impact
IndependentChoices (INCHOICE-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter INCHOICE-1-17.doc letter that expains changes to Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – IndependentChoices Manual
(IA – 11 of 22)
INCHOICE-1-17 Provider Manual Update INCHOICE-1-17up.doc Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – IndependentChoices Manual changes
(IA – 12 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes various changes included background checks
Personal Care (PERSCARE-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter PERSCARE-1-17.doc letter that explains changes to Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – Personal Care manual
(IA – 13 of 22)
PERSCARE-1-17 Provider Manual Update PERSCARE-1-17up.doc Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – Personal Care Manual changes
(IA – 14 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes
Private Duty Nursing Services (PDN-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter PDN-1-17.doc letter that explains changes to the Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – Private Duty Nursing Services manual
(IA – 15 of 22)
PDN-1-17 Provider Manual Update PDN-1-17up.doc Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – Private Duty Nursing Services Manual changes
(IA – 15 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes background checks
Physician (PHYSICN-3-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter PHYSICN-3-17.doc letter that explains changes to the Physician/ Independent Lab/CRNA/Radiation Therapy Center manual
(IA – 17 of 22)
PHYSICN-3-17 Provider Manual Update PHYSICN-3-17up.doc Physician/ Independent Lab/CRNA/Radiation Therapy Center manual changes
(IA – 18 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes IA requirement
1. IA Public Notice
2. IA Manual Summary
3. IA fiscal Impact
Rural Health Clinic (RURLHLTH-1-17) Provider Manual Update Transmittal Letter RURLHLTH-1-17.doc letter that explains changes to the Rural Health Clinic Services manual
(IA – 19 of 22)
RURLHLTH-1-17 Provider Manual Update RURLHLTH-1-17up.doc Rural Health Clinic Services manual changes
(IA – 20 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes IA requirement
1. IA Public Notice
2. IA Manual Summary
3. IA fiscal Impact
Section I (SecI-3-17) All Provider Manuals Update Transmittal Letter SecI-3-17.doc letter that explains the changes to the Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – All Providers manual
(IA – 21 of 22)
SecI-3-17 All Provider Manuals Update SecI-3-17up.doc Arkansas Medicaid Health Care Providers – All Providers manual
(IA – 22 of 22) Section II, mark up that shows changes IA requirement
1. IA Public Notice
2. IA Manual Summary
3. IA fiscal Impact

Medicaid Saves Lila

IMG_6439

This is my sweet girl, Lila. She’s active and intelligent. She loves to swing, eat blackberries, and paint. Don’t you dare turn your back on her because she’s mischievous too! She loves her friends, family, and kitty-cats. She is absolutely the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done with my life, and she just so happens to have Down Syndrome.

IMG_0135

She might smile a lot, but her life hasn’t been easy. Born almost a month early due to multiple complications, Lila spent some time in the NICU. She’s overcome multiple illnesses and surgeries, including open heart surgery soon after her first birthday and many others since. In fact, we have received 2 new diagnoses this year alone, and she’ll have at least one surgery.

IMG_0134

My husband and I are proud Arkansans. We’re educated, hard-working, tax-paying citizens. At the time of Lila’s birth, we lived in another state. Despite the fact that we both had good jobs and primary insurance coverage, we struggled to provide for her needs. When we moved back to Arkansas, Lila was significantly delayed in many areas.

IMG_6519 Our friends told us about TEFRA, a type of Medicaid funding that provides for disabled children and that requires the family to pay a premium. Our primary insurance pays first for all that it will cover, and Medicaid makes sure that Lila doesn’t go without the rest. We gladly pay a monthly fee for this essential assistance!

Lila now receives medical treatments that she needs from specialists and Occupational, Physical, and Speech therapy. She attends a school where she is loved and accepted, and they practice important skills in the classroom to prepare her for mainstream Kindergarten. Lila is constantly learning the necessary skills to be independent: speaking new words, learning to feed herself, to dress herself, and to climb stairs. One of my favorite moments was the first time I ever heard her say, “Ma Ma.” Can you imagine waiting 4 years to hear that?

IMG_2776We never expected to need Medicaid. Even though we’d paid taxes for years for Medicaid, we didn’t know that a person’s life can change drastically in a moment – a car accident, a stroke, a job loss, a cancer diagnosis, a chromosomal difference – to cause them to need Medicaid. We thought that if we worked hard enough, we could take care of ourselves and Lila. But no matter how hard we work or what we give up, we just can’t afford to provide for all of Lila’s needs. Now, because of Medicaid, Lila is thriving, and we’re not being crushed under the weight of Lila’s ever-growing medical debt. We have hope that she will continue to develop and someday be a valued, contributing member of society. We are incredibly thankful for Medicaid.

We tell everyone we can how essential Medicaid is! Lila has visited the Capitol and state lawmakers multiple times to represent herself and friends like her. Since she can’t speak much yet, my husband and I tell them how much Medicaid is literally saving lives. I can’t wait for the day that Lila will tell them herself. She brings a beauty and light to this dark world, and we will never stop fighting for her!

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How the BCRA will affect you, even if you don’t receive Medicaid

The topic of health care is not only in some ways oppressive on our minds but also overwhelming these days. Months ago, the House wrote the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and they passed it on to the Senate. Then, the Senate must have found fault with the AHCA because they wrote their own version of the bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). If the Senate passes their bill, it will have to go to the House for their approval. We have seen months (years!) of coverage on the subject of health care, and it’s downright confusing at this point.

Let’s try to clarify some of the confusion by pulling a few articles together to show what will change with the Senate health care bill, the BCRA. (The AHCA doesn’t matter if the House approves the BCRA.) This research will show that nearly everyone who isn’t extremely wealthy will be affected negatively by the bill as it stands proposed today. If you care about, or are affected by, any of the following categories, you can expect changes to come to you and your family if this bill were to pass.

1. Medicaid Funding

“[T]he Senate bill would radically restructure all parts of Medicaid—not just the expansion provided under the Affordable Care Act.” 1

“The cumulative impact: a $772 billion spending cut over 10 years, versus current law, and 15 million fewer people enrolled in Medicaid in 2026.” 2

2. Essential Health Benefits

“But another change might have more far-reaching effects: eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s ‘essential health benefits,’ or EHBs. That shift could affect almost everybody, including the 156 million Americans who receive health coverage through their employers.” 5

Here’s a rundown of what they are: 4, 5, 6

  • Outpatient care — scheduled doctor visits, (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency room trips — ER visits and ambulance trips.
  • In-hospital care — All care people get as hospital patients, such as surgery.
  • Pregnancy, maternity and newborn care — before and after birth
  • Mental health and substance abuse disorder services — (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative services and habilitative services – help recovering from an injury or illness, but also treatment (therapy) for kids with autism or cerebral palsy.
  • Lab tests
  • Preventive services — vaccines, cancer screenings, etc.
  • Pediatric services — including dental and vision care for children.

3. Pre-existing Conditions Protections

“The BCRA retains the popular ACA provision that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be charged more for insurance because of their health status. However, weakened essential health benefits would hurt people with pre-existing conditions.” 1

“The Senate bill would retain some limits. It wouldn’t, for example, allow states to waive the prohibition on discriminating on the basis of preexisting conditions. But it would allow states to remove caps on out-of-pocket spending for exchange plans.” 3

4. Subsidies & Taxes

“One major difference is that the Senate bill provides subsides only up to 350% of the federal poverty level starting in 2020; the ACA currently provides subsidies up to 400%. In other words, while individuals earning up to $47,550 qualify for help under the ACA, only those earning up to $41,580 would qualify under the Senate plan. This means far fewer people will qualify for aid.” 1

Sources:

1 4 Things to Know About the Senate’s Health Care Bill

4 ways you probably didn’t know the Republican bill changes Medicaid

3  Crazy Waivers

4 What Are ‘Essential Benefits’ in GOP Health Care Bill Debate?

5 The 10 ‘essential’ benefits that could be eliminated under the GOP health care plan

6 What Marketplace health insurance plans cover

Ari

IMG_9906My sweet boy, Ari, has had 2 shunt revisions, ETV placement and will be having a major skull reconstruction surgery in 2 months. He is still working on head control as well as feeding. He has overcome so much and he has so much further to go … without Medicaid he would not survive. Being a single parent, the support given through Medicaid help ensure that he will receive all the healthcare support that he so desperately needs. I work full time and have private insurance personally, he is also on my plan, but TEFRA helps allow for him to have continued therapy, the wheelchair that helps him participate in all community/school activities and surgeries that he needs to survive and thrive. His birthday is this week and I can’t believe he will be 4!!

Facts & Faces of Medicaid

Share the facts and faces of Arkansas Medicaid.

Show people who Medicaid cuts would hurt. Don’t give up. Keep calling and sharing.

Data source is credited. We have gathered several of KFF’s posts here to save you some time.

Catch up on the Provider Led Model (PASSE)

PASSE stands for Provider-owned Arkansas Shared Savings Entities, and this new Provider-led model is required by a law passed by the Arkansas State Legislature last spring. DHS has been told to achieve a certain amount of Medicaid cost savings, and the theory is that this model should achieve them through better management of care. Over the next year and a half, we will see a shift in the management of Medicaid care for certain recipients under the Developmental Disabilities Services and Behavioral Health Services Divisions of DHS through the implementation of this model.

During the transition time, each recipient will undergo an Independent Assessment to determine services given, and then each recipient will be assigned to one of the PASSEs. Right now, we don’t know how many PASSEs there will be or which partners each will include. That should all become clear after June 15, 2007. Once the recipient receives information about which PASSE he or she has been assigned to, he or she will have 90 days to switch to a new PASSE if desired. Everyone will be on a different timeline, so recipients won’t really be able to compare situations early on.

This transition will take place throughout 2017 and 2018 as PASSEs slowly take on responsibility. In 2019, the PASSEs will take on all responsibility of managing the care and funds for each recipient they’ve been assigned. Providers will then bill the PASSE for each client, which means that the providers have to participate in probably all PASSEs to be “in network” for their current clients and future clients.

As said before, this will only affect certain clients – classified as Tier 2 and Tier 3 – for both DD and BH. Tier 2 and 3 people are defined differently by DD and BH, but basically it’s determined by level of care needed.

As we’ve all seen, this is very complicated, and a lot of information has already been shared. Here’s your chance to catch up!

Basic questions answered

See DHS Presentations from public meetings that occurred in April 2017.

Read the law that was passed during this past spring session.

See DHS’s answers to your questions.

See in depth information from DHS about the PLM.