Recognizing the critical need for restructuring health care in our state, Arkansans have taken action. As part of the Arkansas Health System Improvement Initiative, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe asked Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Joe Thompson in early 2011 to work with a core group of health professionals to assess health workforce-related issues and propose recommendations to address any access issues discovered in the assessment.
The core group is staffed by ACHI and co-chaired by University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor Dr. Dan Rahn, and State Health Officer and Director of the Arkansas Department of Health, Dr. Paul Halverson. In April 2012, following more than a year of work, the group submitted the Arkansas Health Workforce Strategic Plan: A Roadmap to Change to Governor Beebe. The Plan offered numerous recommendations centered on four major goals:
- Support the implementation of and transition to team-based care that is patient-centered, coordinated, evidence-based and efficient.
- Enhance and increase the use of health information technology.
- Increase the supply and improve the equitable distribution of primary care providers.
- Adopt new financing, payment, and reimbursement policies and mechanisms.
Many of the plan’s recommendations are currently being implemented, propelled by expanded health care coverage and patient-centered medical home initiatives, such as the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative. Importantly, during the group’s workforce assessment it became evident that existing data sources, reports and other available information were inconsistent and sometimes unreliable, often providing widely different estimates of the health workforce supply in Arkansas. This discovery provided stimulus for the more comprehensive workforce assessment undertaken in ACHI’s study, Arkansas Health Care Workforce: A Guide for Policy Action.
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