Wal-Mart helps underwrite Ark. medical-home initiative

The state of Arkansas' health system transformation is getting a financial boost from Wal-Mart Stores, which committed to providing $670,000 to help underwrite the work of the Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative. The initiative, Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Joe Thompson said, is a multipayer effort, and the intent is to make it an all-payer effort, including self-insured employers. Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, is the biggest self-insured employer in the state.

Arkansas is part of the CMS' Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, which has 500 practices across the nation serving as patient-centered medical homes in which at least 60% of their patient bases are covered by payers contributing per-member, per-month management fees meant to offset the cost of care-coordination services. Sixty-nine of the 500 CPCI practices are in Arkansas, and now Wal-Mart will be contributing the management fee for those covered by its plan who receive care at those practices, Thompson said. Wal-Mart will also serve on a new Employer Advisory Council and help pay for an annual state tracking report evaluating the impact of the program. “This is neither a pilot nor a demonstration project,” Thompson said. “This is full-scale healthcare system transformation.”

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