Arkansas expands Medicaid services for pregnant women


Arkansas has begun the process of expanding Medicaid services so more pregnant women may qualify.

Starting at the beginning of next year, the expanded services would allow about 5,000 women with high-risk pregnancies become eligible for home visits by a nurse. In addition, the visits would be available for up to 60 days after the baby is born.

Home visits reduce the risks of long-term health problems for the newborn baby, and help improve the health of the mother. According to the Arkansas Senate, these visits can lower the need for intensive care for newborns, which saves the state Medicaid program enormous sums of money.

In addition, the state will seek federal approval to expand the range of services that pregnant mothers can receive, which will help some mothers who now only qualify for Medicaid services directly related to their pregnancy. They are seeking approval to offer full Medicaid coverage to all pregnant women in the program, which would make about 2,000 women eligible for a full range of medical care, including behavioral health.

State officials are working to provide more resources for pregnant women because they expect an increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies.

DHS officials also announced they would request an increase in the department budget next year so they can increase payments to foster parents. Currently, foster families receive $455 a month for food and shelter for foster care. The governor expressed his hope that in the 2023 regular session, the legislature would increase the amount provisional care pays, which is currently $240 a month. Provisional placements can vary from one month to 6 months.

The state Health Department is also implementing a service called the Pregnancy and Parent Resource Call Line in which people can get information about the availability of resources in their area. Call 855-275-6667 for more information.

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