Nov 2, 2022 - News

Arkansas gets federal approval to expand Medicaid

Illustration of a stethoscope made from a coin.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The Biden administration and the Center for Medicaid Services approved an amendment expanding the state's Medicaid program, ARHOME, at Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's request.

What's happening: The expansion will be geared toward improving maternal care, mental health services, addiction services and added support for people coming out of foster care, prison and veterans ages 19-30 at risk of homelessness, Hutchinson announced during a news conference Tuesday.

Why it matters: The move is intended to improve the health of vulnerable populations and simultaneously to spend less money on health care overall by offering preventative care.

  • Hutchinson gave examples of thwarting neonatal intensive care unit stays by providing more services during pregnancy, or mental health and addiction services to those coming out of prison in part to keep them from going back.
  • He announced in August he was making the request, highlighting the state's high rates of maternal and infant mortality.

How it works: The approved amendment, Life360, is intended to increase medical care at rural hospitals.

  • As many as 49 hospitals could be eligible to take part in expanding services such as establishing mental health crisis units, KUAR reported.

By the numbers: The expansion will cost $16 million, including $3.2 million in state funds and $12.8 million from the federal government.

What's next: Officials previously said they expect this program to take effect in January 2023.

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