Gov. Hutchinson names advisory council on Medicaid reform

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 159 views 

While 16 legislators on a task force will debate and set policy on the future of Medicaid and health care reform, advocacy groups and state agency leaders will also be advising and discussing the issues too.

On Wednesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson named members of a Governor’s Advisory Council on Medicaid Reform to be chaired by Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe. In addition to advocacy groups and state agency directors, the council is made up of other organizations representing Medicaid providers and recipients, as well as legislative and citizen representatives.

Hutchinson said members will work closely with the Governor’s office and the Legislative Task Force on Healthcare Reform “to identify more efficient and effective reforms for the Medicaid program.”

“I think the most important purpose of the Medicaid advisory council is to provide a voice for the various stakeholders,” said Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Arkansas’s Surgeon General. “I expect they’ll have some great ideas as to areas where Medicaid is ripe for reform. This council provides them with that opportunity to be heard. It also gives the stakeholders a direct line to the Governor through me and John Selig. I’ll provide the council a voice to the Healthcare Legislative Task Force, which I sit on as a non-voting member. So there’s a synergy, a back-and-forth communication between those two groups and also directly to the Governor.”

Members of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Medicaid Reform include:
• Leadership and State Agency Representatives
Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe, Chair
Department of Human Services, John Selig, Vice Chair
Arkansas Department of Health, Dr. Nate Smith
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Dr. Dan Rahn
Arkansas Minority Health Commission, Michael Knox

• Advisory Council Members
Alliance for Health Improvement, Robin Ravendran
Americans for Prosperity, David Ray
Arkansas AARP, Herb Sanderson
Arkansas Academy of Family Physicians, Carla Coleman
Arkansas Academy of Pediatrics, Aimee Olinghouse
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Rich Huddleston
Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Jerry Mitchell
Arkansas Behavioral Health Council, Angie Lassiter
Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Kurt Knickrehm
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, Dr. Joe Thompson
Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Ray Hanley
Arkansas Health Care Association, Rachel Davis
Arkansas Hospital Association, Ray Montgomery
Arkansas Medical Society, Dr. David Wroten
Arkansas Nurses Association, Veronica Clark
Arkansas Pharmacists Association, Mark Riley
Arkansas State Dental Association, Billy Tarpley
Arkansas Waiver Association, Keith Vire
Community Health Centers of Arkansas, Mary Leah
Developmental Disabilities Providers Association, Judy Watson
Families and Friends of Care Facility Residents, Darrell Pickney
HomeCare Association of Arkansas, Nancy Elphingstone
Mental Health Council of Arkansas, Dianne Skaggs
National Federation of Independent Businesses, Sylvester Smith
Partners for Inclusive Communities, David Deere

• Legislative Representatives
Representative Josh Miller, R-Heber Springs
Representative Vivian Flowers, D-Pine Bluff
Senator Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View
Senator Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock

• Citizen Representatives
Dr. Jack Sternberg
Dr. Carl Johnson
Mr. Sandy Stroope

State lawmakers formed a task force through legislation to reform Arkansas’ Medicaid and health care system. The panel is tasked with a December 2015 deadline to come up with recommendations for reforms, while the legislation said that Arkansas’ private option Medicaid expansion program will end by December 2016.

The task force has met twice to organize its business for the remainder of the year.