Share This Article
Today I would like to talk about how Arkansas is expanding health services for several populations with greater health needs through the state’s ARHOME program.
In 2013, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the Health Care Independence Act, which established the use of expanded Medicaid coverage. It was known as the “private option.”
After I took office in 2015, we worked to put in place the Arkansas Works Act. This act continued the Private Option, but also added features such as including a work requirement.
On January 1, 2022, we introduced Arkansas Health & Opportunity for Me, or ARHOME. Like Arkansas Works, ARHOME offers health care coverage for eligible Arkansans, using Medicaid dollars to buy health insurance coverage for clients. The difference is that ARHOME places a greater emphasis on improving health outcomes of those who use it by holding the insurance carriers accountable for meeting health improvement targets.
This week, I announced the newest expansion to the ARHOME program with the addition of Life360 HOMEs. The General Assembly takes a lot of credit for the hard work in expanding these services.
These Life360 HOMEs will be used to assist women with high-risk pregnancies, help people with mental illnesses gain access to services in our rural counties, and give young adults most at risk of long-term poverty a helping hand with opportunities and skills for improving their lives. They will also provide support for hospitals, especially those in rural areas.
The rural hospitals will offer services like home visits for eligible women with high-risk pregnancies. Home visitation programs can improve maternal health outcomes and improve health for children.
Another function of the Life360 HOMEs will be to coordinate services to individuals with serious mental illnesses or substance use disorders who are living in rural areas. They will be able to partner with our rural hospitals and provide clients with care for up to 24 months.
In 2021, nearly 52,000 ARHOME clients in rural counties were diagnosed with a serious mental illness or substance use disorder. This means our rural patients will be receiving more treatment with a closer focus on better health outcomes.
These Life360 HOMEs are a critical part of the ARHOME initiative, and the additional services made available to Arkansans across this state have the potential to make a profound impact on the health of our citizens.