(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – An Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Medical Services (DMS) program that transforms primary care delivery, with the goal of improving patients’ experience and health while reducing overall cost of treatment, has been honored with a national award.
DHS Program Director David Ballard and Arkansas Medicaid Medical Director Dr. William Golden recently accepted the Center for Evidence-based Policy’s inaugural Evidence-Based Innovation Award for the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program.
The award recognizes a team or state official for using evidence to innovate state-run, publicly funded efforts that achieve improvement in health outcomes, quality, or cost for their state’s population.
The PCMH program aims to support primary care in Arkansas by enhancing the patient experience, promoting preventive and long-term disease management, and reducing cost to the program.
Primary care practices, in return for receiving a monthly care coordination fee, must provide services such as 24/7 access to care, track next available appointments, assure that beneficiaries with higher risk scores or chronic conditions have two care plans completed per year, and conduct screenings for literacy and social determinants of health.
“It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of the state,“ Golden said. “The PCMH model is improving the health of our state’s population in many aspects. With the development of the Medicaid practice portal and detailed data analytics, we are able to supply tailored reports to participating clinical sites that identify care gaps and help prioritize clinical outreach to patients.”
State officials established the program in 2014 in response to barriers Medicaid enrollees often faced in accessing health care.
The program also pays bonuses to practices that pass quality of care measures and rank in the top percentile in managing acute care episodes such as Emergency Department Utilization (EDU) and Acute Hospital Utilization (AHU). Since implementing this model, the program has seen a reduction of over 33% in EDU and 31% in AHU. The PCMH model is now in its 10th year, sustaining continued robust participation and substantial impact on the content and viability of primary care in a rural state.