Since the inception of Article 1220, the state has been working to reduce the growing rate of childhood obesity. Balance It Out: Arkansas SM is another step in the right direction to improving the health of children by:
- Increasing knowledge and understanding of behaviors that impact health, resulting in lifestyle changes
- Increasing the ability to manage health through information, resources, and coaching
- Engaging the community in actively managing at-risk populations
- Improving the health of Medicaid beneficiaries
- Reducing health care costs of Medicaid recipients receiving personalized coaching
- Improving Body Mass Index (BMI) among overweight school age children participating in the coaching initiative
To evaluate impact, the program will measure changes in health status and costs. Improvements in individual behaviors should include improved adherence to personalized diet and activity plans. Improved clinical measures should include lowered BMI, improved cholesterol, and greater adherence to physicians' treatment plans. Program engagement and medical utilization data will also be measured and tracked. Improvements in behavior, clinical values, and appropriate use of health care are expected to lower Medicaid costs.
There is an outcomes and evaluation team headed by a multidisciplinary committee that includes members of the Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services, the Arkansas Department of Education and Pfizer Health Solutions. The committee is comprised of physicians, state Medicaid agency staff, and statisticians.
The state Medicaid office is overseeing access to and reporting of data. All data released will abide by state and federal regulations, including HIPAA, to ensure privacy. The program will be tracked in the following areas:
- Reaching target goal for blood pressure
- Reduced LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels
- Improved Body Mass Index (BMI) as appropriate
- Reduced hospital admissions and length of stay
- Improved follow-up with doctors
- Decreased Emergency Department visits for chronic illnesses
- Improved adherence to healthy diet and physical activity plan
- Adherence to treatment regimen for chronic conditions
- Consistent use of monitors for chronic conditions (for example, monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar levels)
Financial (Medicaid beneficiaries only)
- Reduced per member per month costs
- Enhanced return-on-investment
Engagement and Sustainment
- Number of people attending wellness festivals
- Percent of completed Health Risk Assessments (HRA) by wellness fest attendees
- Percent of HRA participants identified for coaching initiative
- Percent of those identified enrolled in coaching initiative
- Percent of enrollees retained until goals are met
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