Arkansas PASSE

In addition to contracting with the Arkansas Department of Human Services for the past eight years to administer its behavioral health care delivery system, Beacon is an equity partner in Empower Healthcare Solutions (Empower), a Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity (PASSE).

PASSE is Arkansas’ new model of care that addresses the overall health care needs of Medicaid beneficiaries who have complex behavioral health or intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) service needs. Goals of the program are to:

  • Coordinate and integrate treatment delivery across all of the individual’s providers
  • Improve total health outcomes for the target population
  • Increase local service capacity to help individuals with IDD access quality care and support services within their own communities
  • Ensure flexibility in the individuals’ service array to address all of their health care needs
  • Slow or decrease spending growth and costly acute care stays by promoting efficient and effective services

Beacon has shared ownership in this unique provider-led model and holds a management services agreement with Empower to conduct administrative services and help the organization adopt and implement managed care strategies to operate as a PASSE. In addition to Beacon, Empower is composed of the following partner organizations:

  • Arkansas Community Health Network, which includes four leading medical health care systems: Baxter Regional Health System, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, Unity Health, and White River Health System.
  • Independent Case Management, a statewide premier provider of home and community-based supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Statera, which is comprised of leaders and innovators providing long-term support services throughout Arkansas. The representatives of Statera have vast health care experience, spanning home health, hospice, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, independent care facilities, pharmacies, medical clinics, rural health clinics, non-emergency transportation services, and full-service rehabilitation therapy.
  • The Arkansas Healthcare Alliance, 22 inpatient and outpatient providers who provide behavioral health, substance use disorder, and intellectual and developmental disability services to tens of thousands of Arkansas infants, children, adolescents, adults, and families.
  • Woodruff Health Group, LLC (ARcare/pharmacist), which operates as a Federally Qualified Health Center and for the past 30 years, has created
    a health care home through a network of 36 primary care clinics, three pharmacies, and four wellness centers to support underserved Arkansas communities.


Person-Centered Care Planning

Empower’s model of care ensures individuals with behavioral health needs or IDD receive the right care, in the right setting, at the right time to improve health outcomes and manage total health care costs.

We conduct comprehensive data analysis based on claims files to identify all of the individual’s treating providers and include their input when developing the individual’s plan of care. Ensuring the plan is person-centered, we identify individual’s strengths and needs by collaborating with them and their family members during the development process. We also address their functional needs based upon their Independent Assessments. We then develop clinical interventions to help our members navigate the medical, behavioral health, and developmental disability systems as well as access community resources to address their needs.

Care Coordination

Under the innovative PASSE program, Empower’s Care Coordinators manage beneficiary care across all of the individual’s providers, including medical, pharmacy, behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disability, and long-term support services. Functioning much like a health home, the Care Coordinator is the single point of contact for all of the individual’s providers, ensuring the development and effective execution of the member’s person-centered service plan and proactively integrating service delivery based on the plan.

The Care Coordinator monitors the delivery of integrated services through regular contacts with the individual and ongoing communication with his or her providers, establishing linkages to family service agencies, community services organizations, the court system, schools, and other appropriate resources.

Consumer Advisory Council

Empower recognizes the importance of engaging members, key constituents, and stakeholders in the PASSE program. We developed a Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) to ensure people have the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback and important program information across the state. The CAC also helps guide our mission to empower individuals to lead fuller, healthier lives at home and in their communities.

The CAC meets quarterly and consists of individuals, family members, advocates, community providers, and representatives from Empower. During these meetings, Empower gains valuable insight regarding the individual experience and identifies improvement opportunities. For example, based on CAC input, we developed a comprehensive video companion to the member handbook to accommodate individuals with low or no reading apprehension. We have also made enhancements to other member interactions including welcome letters, initial care coordinator meetings, and availability of staff contact information.

We are currently developing four Consumer Advisory subcommittees in other areas of the state to mirror the Department of Public Health’s regions. Each subcommittee will share information, insight, education, and advocacy related to identified needs and proposed solutions for their respective region to the CAC.

Through the CAC and subcommittees, we will obtain important feedback from community organizations, participating providers, and individuals and their family members to inform cross-system innovation and collaboration, establish best practices, and optimize the individual experience.