Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

Our Work

Health System Topics















ACHI's Areas of Focus



Over the years, ACHI has fine-tuned the ability to nimbly adjust priorities to embrace opportunities arising from the shifting health policy landscape. By providing evidence-based research, advocating for public policies that enhance health and wellness, and collaborating to build programs, ACHI has delivered many meaningful accomplishments, especially in the areas of tobacco cessation, childhood obesity and vehicular safety.

Currently, ACHI’s staff is working at the forefront of the movement to improve our health and our health system, facilitating and convening multiple stakeholders across dozens of disciplines and striving to find common ground for the common good.

Projects (current and past) associated with our efforts to translate research and data into evidence-based solutions, build productive collaborations, and help leaders develop innovative policy solutions are linked below.

Projects - Current

2017 Legislative Packet
Arkansas All-Payer Claims Database The Health Insurance Rate Review Division of the Arkansas Insurance Department awarded ACHI the contract to establish an APCD for the state. Once fully functional this large-scale database will support health insurance rate review and increase transparency in health care quality and pricing.
Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention - Growing Healthy Communities (GHC) Developed by the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, fostered in part by ACHI, Growing Healthy Communities encourages local coalition development and provides technical assistance with a focus on increasing opportunities for physical activity and affordable access to healthy foods.
Arkansas Health Care Independence Act ("Private Option") Commonly called the “private option,” the Arkansas 89th General Assembly passed the Health Care Independence Act of 2013 authorizing the use of the federal funding to extend Medicaid benefits to Arkansans who qualify under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act..
Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative (AHCPII) The Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative (AHCPII) is designed to transition Arkansas to a “patient-centered” health care system that embraces the triple aim of (1) improving the health of the population; (2) enhancing the patient experience of care, including quality, access, and reliability; and (3) reducing, or at least controlling, the cost of health care.
Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative - PCMH Case Studies How are health care providers meeting the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative? ACHI staff went into the field to answer that question through one-on-one interviews with trailblazers who are successfully transforming their practices to Patient-Centered Medical Homes.
Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative Statewide Tracking Report
Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative Video This video describes the who, what, when and where of Arkansas’s novel, multi-payer approach to creating a sustainable health care delivery system designed to improve the quality of care people receive and at the same time contain rising costs.
Arkansas Health Care Workforce Strategic Plan: A Roadmap to Change A major activity associated with the Arkansas Health System Improvement Initiative is strategically planning for a health workforce to meet current and future needs of Arkansans.
Arkansas Health Care Workforce: An Overview As the state embarks upon health care system transformation, including expanding health insurance coverage to more Arkansans, payment improvement, increased use and enhancement of health information technology, workforce development is a crucial component of a viable, efficient health care system.
Arkansas Health Care Workforce: Guide for Policy Action Developed by ACHI and funded by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, this report provides a unique, multi-dimensional look at how and where health care is provided in Arkansas.
Arkansas Health Data Initiative Our transformation of data into information for decision-making is a central component of ACHI’s health policy and program development.
Arkansas Health Data Initiative Advisory Committee The Health Data Initiative (HDI) Advisory Committee advises ACHI’s Director and the Health Data Initiative Director on using the HDI to advance the health of Arkansans.
Arkansas Health System Improvement Directed by Governor MIke Beebe and led by ACHI Director and Arkansas Surgeon General, Dr. Joe Thompson, the Arkansas Health System Improvement Initiative is a collaborative project with four primary focus areas that has led to the development of innovative solutions for improving health and health care in our state.
Arkansas Patient Centered Medical Homes: Comparison to Other State Programs May 2016 This brief outlines PCMH background and core principles, provides an overview of state PCMH activity, and offers a comparison of Arkansas’s program to those in other states.
Arkansas Works Arkansas Works continues the state’s innovative approach to Medicaid expansion through individual plan premium assistance, but adopts new features aimed at strengthening employer-sponsored coverage opportunities and promoting wellness and personal responsibility.
Child Health Advisory Committee The Child Health Advisory Committee (CHAC), established by Act 1220, includes an ACHI representative.
Health Care Independence Program 1115 Waiver Evaluation 2015
Health Care Independence Program: Interim Evaluation Report June 2016 As a part of the terms and conditions of the Section 1115 demonstration waiver implementing the Health Care Independence Program (HCIP), Arkansas was required to design and implement an evaluation of the program’s premium assistance approach for individuals enrolled in private plans through the program.
Healthy Active Arkansas What does a Healthy Active Arkansas look like?
Informing Health Policy Resources developed to inform legislative and other policy dialogue associated with issues important to the health of Arkansans.
Interventions for Obesity Prevention Targeting Young Children in At-Risk Environments: An Integrated Approach This project led by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in partnership with ACHI characterizes the home and school food environments of children across the state.
Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act Issue Brief
Obesity Initiative - Overview Obesity is a national epidemic with serious health and economic implications. Nearly 70% of Arkansas adults and 38% of children are overweight or obese. Because problems with weight often begin in childhood, ACHI has committed significant efforts to define and plan solutions to combat the obesity epidemic plaguing Arkansas’s youth.
PrimeCare PCMH Case Study
State Innovation Model Award Arkansas was among six states chosen to receive a $42-million State Innovation Model grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. As a result, Arkansas is leading the country in efforts to dramatically improve the quality of patient care and rein in rapidly rising health care costs.
Statewide Body Mass Index Data Collection System and Reporting Following recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Society, ACHI created and implemented the BMI screening process for all Arkansas public school children, as mandated in Arkansas Act 1220 of 2003. Annual BMI assessment reports are developed at the school, district and statewide level.
Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Many of the most serious illnesses faced by Arkansans are related to tobacco use. Reducing use of tobacco has been a continuing theme in ACHI’s portfolio of work.

Projects - Past

Adult Immunization Program Preventing disease by increasing needed adult immunizations is a project the Arkansas Department of Health has undertaken with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ACHI is collaborating with ADH and several other pertinent organizations to achieve higher rates of adult immunization coverage in Arkansas.
APII Employer Advisory Council ACHI, with the assistance of Walmart, is staffing a roundtable of self-insured employers to ensure that the perspectives of this segment of the health care landscape are reflected in the development and deployment of the APII.
ARHealthNetworks ARHealthNetworks, represents one of the first true partnerships between state and federal government, private businesses, and families to make affordable health care coverage available to uninsured workers.
Arkansas Health Insurance Expansion Initiative Roundtable In October 2000, ACHI formed the Arkansas Health Insurance Initiative Roundtable to address the state's growing crisis in health insurance coverage.
Arkansas State and Public School Employee Health and Life Insurance Plan (EBD) ACHI has designed and completed multiple analytic projects that the Employee Benefits Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has used in consideration of its health plan designs and management.
Child Wellness Intervention Project CWIP used proven methods to increase time spent in physical activity by providing quality physical education programs. The Arkansas CWIP grants provided eligible schools with the SPARK physical education curriculum and equipment, Fitnessgram software, HealthTeacher.com curriculum, and all teacher trainings. Schools that received grant funds committed to making policy changes that would allow an increase in the number of required physical education/activity minutes per week from 60 minutes to 120 minutes for all children.
Clean Air Acts As a result of legislation passed in 2006, Arkansans across the state are protected from the harmful affects of second-hand smoke in public places.
Coordinated School Health ACHI staff has developed a strong partnership with the Arkansas Coordinated School Health program. This includes providing an ongoing evaluation of implemented activities to help identify those with the greatest impact on student health, test scores, behavior and attendance.
Emergency Department Use Analysis Through its partnership with the Employee Benefits Division (EBD) at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, ACHI conducted an analysis of emergency department claims filed by EBD members for 2010 and 2011.
Employer Perspective on Tobacco Use and Cessation Programs ACHI staff have worked with the Arkansas Department of Health to analyze the issue of tobacco use and health insurance coverage for tobacco cessation programs from an employer perspective.
Expanding Health Care Coverage in Arkansas: An Overview The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law on March 23, 2010 has far-reaching effects for health care consumers, providers, and the insurance industry.
Governor Mike Beebe's 2009 Health Care Initiative On February 17, 2009, Governor Mike Beebe signed Act 180 for comprehensive health care, increasing the tax on tobacco products and providing funding for major health priorities.
Governor’s Roundtable on Health Care The Governor's Roundtable on Health Care brought together a diverse group of business and community leaders to discuss strategies for improving Arkansas's struggling health care system.
Graduated Driver’s Licenses Thanks to the efforts of ACHI and many injury prevention advocates, the states laws restricting teen drivers were strengthened in 2009 to provide further protection to teen drivers.
Health Information Security & Privacy Collaboration (HISPC) The Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International, in conjunction with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the National Governor's Association awarded Arkansas a year-long contract to explore strategies to improve electronic health information exchange while ensuring privacy and security.
Health Insurance Marketplace Formerly called the “health benefits exchange,” the Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) is a virtual insurance megamall serving as an avenue for individuals, families, and small employers (with 50 or fewer employees) to shop for, select, and enroll in qualified private health plans that meet their specific needs.
Health Plan Quality The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains several quality-related requirements for carriers offering plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace requiring implementation of quality improvement strategies, enhanced patient safety through specific contracting requirements, and publicly report quality data.
Impact of 2010 Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Arkansas Health Care System The many opportunities and challenges for Arkansans associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are explored in a series of informational briefs developed by ACHI.
Joint Use Agreement Grant Program The Joint Use Agreement grant program awards funds to schools to help them adopt and implement policies and form collaborative partnerships with local community resources to maximize opportunities for physical activity through expanded use of recreational facilities.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws After Arkansas's universal helmet law was repealed, emergency medical service providers noted that motorcycle fatalities increased by 21%. These same medical providers also recorded a significant increase in head injuries and in the average medical treatment costs per accident.
Multi-State Integrated Data (MSID) Initiative ACHI's development of an integrated database as a data extraction tool.
Navigating the Landscape of Health Care Map (2005–2015) ACHI created Navigating the Health Care Landscape as a conceptual map covering the time frame 2005–2015 to engage diverse stakeholders in discussions about what changes are necessary to create a positive transformation in our health care system.
Oral Health in Arkansas Oral health is a vital aspect of the overall health of Arkansans. Although preventable, tooth decay is a chronic disease affecting all age groups. In fact, it is the most common chronic disease of childhood.
PCMH Town Halls As a partnering organization in the Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative (APII), ACHI is involved in more than just research and analyses. During the spring of 2012, the partnership made efforts to educate the public about a key component of APII, the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model. Along with the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, QualChoice of Arkansas, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, and Arkansas Medicaid, the initiative hosted seven “town hall” meetings across the state.
Primary Seat Belt Law ACHI advocated for many years to strengthen Arkansas’s seat belt laws. Before July 2009, state law required use of restraints by drivers and front seat passengers, but this was not a primary offense. ACHI contributed to the legislative dialogue and educated lawmakers about the financial costs, injury and death that were caused by not using safety belts.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity Launched and operated under ACHI’s leadership in partnership with PolicyLink (Oakland, CA) from January 2009 through November 2011, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity (RWJF Center) was part of a multi-faceted initiative undertaken nationally by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.
State Coverage Institute—Governor’s Implementation Group A team of key government executives and legislative leaders was selected to form what later became known as the Governor's Implementation Group with a goal of providing support for undertaking health care reform initiatives.
State Employee Health Care Quality and Health Disparities Report Analysis of quality measures associated with the State Employee Health Plan serve as a resource for the Employee Benefits Divsion (EBD) efforts to deliver high quality, appropriate care to enrollees.
State Employee Health Risk Assessments & Wellness Strategy
Students for Healthy Communities, An EAST Initiative Created by ACHI in partnership with the EAST initiative, Students for Health Communities encourages creation of unique ideas for sustainable community changes for improving health.
Tobacco Excise Tax Increase ACHI and the Step-Up Coalition members facilitated and contributed to dialogue in the 87th Arkansas General Assembly about the critical issue of tobacco cessation. The resulting passage of Act 180 of 2009 implemented a significant tobacco tax increase
Tobacco Settlement Commission ACHI has provided technical assistance to the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission (ATSC), which was established as part of the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000 to provide oversight and assess performance of the programs funded through the act.
Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act As part of the national Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with major U.S. tobacco companies, in November 1999 Arkansas accepted approximately $62 million per year for 25 years in exchange for an agreement that Arkansas would not sue the tobacco companies for negative health impact or past health care costs caused by tobacco use. With the possibility that MSA funds could be directed to non-health needs, ACHI's Health Policy Board commissioned a white paper on the effects of tobacco in the state.
Vehicular Safety Traffic crashes take an enormous toll on Arkansas's economy and more importantly on the health and lives of Arkansans. ACHI and its Health Policy Board have long-held positions to support policies and strengthen state laws that can reduce preventable injuries and death among motorcycle and other vehicle drivers and passengers.
Webinar-Arkansas Health Care Needs Questionnaire: Primer on Implementation This webinar was conducted March 19, 2014 by ACHI with the AR Medicaid Office and Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), discussing the design, use and results of a questionnaire used to determine those enrollees in the Arkansas Health Care Independence Program (Private Option) with exceptional health needs that will be better served by traditional Medicaid.

Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
1401 West Capitol
Suite 300 (Victory Building)
Little Rock, AR 72201