Arkansas Hospitals Health & Science

President’s Message: Innovating for Arkansans

Bo Ryall, President and CEO of the Arkansas Hospital Association

The following article is from Arkansas Hospitals magazine, a custom publication of Vowell, Inc., which also produces Arkansas Money & Politics.

Over the years, Arkansas Hospitals has been proud to share many creative solutions advanced by hospitals – both in Arkansas and around the nation – in the areas of patient experience, quality improvement, resource management, education and policy development.

We dedicate this entire issue of the magazine to the topic of innovation, believing that the presentation of ideas successfully put in motion by others can be borrowed, tinkered with, refined and applied on patient floors and in C-suites across the state.

Health care innovation can take the form of new tools and technologies, but it can also apply to new ideas in transparency, communication and strategy. Here, we highlight ideas from The Joint Commission to Baldrige Award-winning hospitals, from the Arkansas Pharmacists Association to Healthy Active Arkansas, and from solutions for food insecurity to the start of Arkansas’s new PASSE program. In addition, we shine the light on more than ten Arkansas hospitals which share their resourceful innovations, large and small.

Perhaps the most innovative health care policy strategy to come from Arkansas in the past few years is the Arkansas Private Option, now known as Arkansas Works.

We were the first state in the nation to receive approval from the federal government for a Section 1115 demonstration waiver allowing the use of federal funds to purchase private insurance coverage for certain low-income individuals. Eventually, this program has allowed Arkansas to cover more than 300,000 formerly uninsured citizens under the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

This innovation, often borrowed by other Medicaid expansion states, has made a real difference in the way Arkansans seek medical care. The newly insured are receiving more primary and preventive care, leading to better management of chronic disease and improved health in the state overall.

It has also led to a significant reduction in uncompensated care for our hospitals, reducing financial burdens that previously threatened many smaller hospitals’ viability.

Just as the innovations in Arkansas Works have improved the health of Arkansans and Arkansas hospitals, so the ideas presented here can improve the processes and strategies at play every day in health care organizations across the state.

Please take these ideas, tweak them, use them and make them your own. We’re celebrating Arkansas health care innovation, and we invite you to do the same.

Bo Ryall
President and CEO
Arkansas Hospital Association

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