LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A special session of the Arkansas Legislature gets underway Wednesday, and it looks a lot different than what Gov. Asa Hutchinson first envisioned.
The governor officially made the call for legislators to begin work on his plan for Arkansas' hybrid Medicaid expansion, called the private option. He wants to retain, rework, and rename the plan "Arkansas Works,” but he's taking another plan off the special session agenda—a proposal to use managed care to provide Medicaid services to the disabled and mentally ill.
Hutchinson had said the plan would save $1.4 billion over five years, but legislators — including some fellow Republicans — are backing another plan, called Diamond Care. It would use a fee-for-service model and save about $1 billion.
Hutchinson said he's taking the proposal off the table to give legislators more time to absorb what he calls "complex legislation." While he said he plans to revisit the plan, he said he had no timetable for when to do so.
Looking to other health care matters — Cumberland Consulting Group of Franklin, Tennessee, said this week that it had acquired a Little Rock company — Oleen Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting.
Both companies work with health care entities implement technology to increase efficiency.
Pete Biagioni, president and CEO of Oleen, will join Cumberland as managing partner of the firm's payer division. Oleen's clients include the state Department of Health and QualChoice.
Cumberland is keeping Oleen's 50 employees and offices in West Little Rock.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
And finally, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville said Tuesday that its U.S. stores and Sam's Club stores plan to transition to a 100 percent cage-free egg supply chain by the year 2025.
Walmart said the move is dependent on available supply, affordability, and customer demand.
The retailer also said it would challenge suppliers to use selective breeding practices and best management practices to improve the health and welfare of laying hens.