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Last updated on Monday, February 4, 2013, 12:46 pm

Sparks Selected to Participate in New Initiative

by Rob Keys

Sparks Health System has announced it will participate in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, which is made possible by the Affordable Care Act.

According to a news release, Sparks Regional Medical Center is one of more than 500 participating organizations, but the only one in Northwest Arkansas. The selections were made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The groups will test how bundling payments for medical visits can result in more coordinated care for beneficiaries and lower costs for Medicare. The initiative currently is in Phase 1, which runs through July.

In Phase 1, participants will receive new data from CMS on care patterns and engage in shared learning in how to improve care, the release stated. Also according to the release, Phase 1 participants generally are expected to become participants in Phase 2, in which approved participants opt to take on financial risk for episodes of care starting in July 2013, pending contract finalization and completion of CMS’ standard program integrity reviews.

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Arkansas voters will decide in a few weeks whether to increase the state's minimum wage. If you had to vote today, would you vote to raise minimum wage in Arkansas from $6.25 to $8.50 by 2017?

  • Yes. Anyone who works full-time should be able to support their family.
  • No. The government should not dictate how much workers are paid.
  • No. Minimum-wage jobs are for entry-level workers. If people want to get paid more, they should work their way up.
  • No. It will constrain employers and kill jobs.
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