Press Release

Asa Arkansas's Governor


Gov. Hutchinson, DHS Release First Scorecard Showing Traditional Medicaid Spending Lower

DHS files first quarterly public scorecard tracking Medicaid savings from reform efforts

LITTLE ROCK –  Governor Asa Hutchinson today, along with the Department of Human Services (DHS), released the state’s first scorecard showing traditional Medicaid spending well below estimated growth. Arkansas’s traditional Medicaid program spent $175 million less than projected for State Fiscal Year 2017, with a significant portion of that savings attributed to reform efforts approved by the Healthcare Reform Legislative Task Force as a way to help achieve savings requested by Governor Hutchinson.

“I am pleased to see the significant savings outlined in the first DHS scorecard. This report demonstrates that the reforms advanced by my Administration and the Healthcare Reform Legislative Task Force are creating real savings and slowing growth to ensure a more sustainable and efficient Medicaid program,” said Governor Hutchinson. “In fact, these reforms have already resulted in tens of millions of dollars in savings to the state.”

“I will continue to work with DHS and the state legislature to tailor a uniquely Arkansas approach to healthcare reform that is innovative, conservative and will ensure the long-term success and viability of our state’s Medicaid program,” added Hutchinson.
In December 2015, the Governor recommended to the Task Force a goal of saving $835 million in the traditional Medicaid program over five years, and the Task Force voted unanimously to find at least that amount in savings “without managed care, with the exception of dental managed care.”

Based on that goal, the Task Force, jointly chaired by Sen. Jim Hendren and Rep. Charlie Collins, set annual savings targets in five high-cost areas of spending in Medicaid:  behavioral health, developmental disabilities (excluding human development centers), long-term services and supports, pharmacy and dental (through managed care). 

“It is great news for Arkansas that the two years of hard work of the Healthcare Reform Task Force have helped produce savings of over $175 million,” said Sen. Jim Hendren, Task Force co-chair. “DHS has taken the HRTF recommendations and done a fantastic job of turning them into actions that produce savings. It shows Arkansas will continue to lead the nation in innovation and responsible healthcare policy development.” 

Legislation passed earlier this year requires the Arkansas Department of Human Services to track those savings on a public scorecard with the “baseline” scorecard to be submitted to the Bureau of Legislative Research by Sept. 1. You can read the full scorecard HERE.

“It’s fantastic to see such positive results from the work of the Task Force and DHS on the very first public scorecard. There will, no doubt, be obstacles along the way to creating a sustainable Medicaid program, but we are clearly headed in the right direction,” said Rep. Charlie Collins, Task Force co-chair. “I commend DHS for the work it has done to help make this a reality and am impressed that the changes DHS is implementing in partnership with all concerned already have us ahead of track on the $835 million savings goal. The rest of the country will be watching the healthcare policy work happening in Arkansas.”

A consultant hired by the Task Force to set savings targets for each area projected $77 million in savings for SFY17. Analysis of actual expenditures shows a savings in these areas of $93 million. The additional savings is likely due to a number of different factors, including lower utilization and reduced enrollment.

The rules and manual changes to complete the Task Force reforms will receive final legislative action in September, allowing DHS to proceed with fully implementing savings reforms. 


Amy Webb
DHS Chief of Communications and Community Engagement or 501.682.8946

J.R. Davis
Governor’s Communications Director or 501.683.6439