From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
Arkansas has begun the process of expanding Medicaid services so that about 5,000 women with high-risk pregnancies will qualify for home visits by a nurse.
The visits will be available while they are pregnant and also after their baby is born, for up to 60 days.
Arkansas has 450 visiting nurses who help expectant mothers who are enrolled in Medicaid.
It’s been proven that home visits provide wonderful benefits to both the mother and the newborn baby.
They reduce the risks of long-term health problems for the newborn, because the visiting nurse is trained to recognize symptoms that can be effectively treated. Jaundice is a good example.
As with all health problems, when it is diagnosed early your chances of a full recovery are much better.
Home visits during high-risk pregnancies also reduce the need for intensive care.
That’s good for the baby and the mother, of course. It also saves the state Medicaid program enormous sums of money, because health conditions can be treated before they become severe and require hospitalization.
Nurses are trained to give advice about breast feeding and answer questions about lactation, and can give advice about coping with anxiety and mood disorders.
Another Medicaid program will be expanded, so that about 2,000 pregnant women will be eligible for all types of medical care.
Previously, they had only been eligible for care directly related to their pregnancy.
Expanding eligibility for Medicaid is just one area in which state officials are preparing for an expected increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies in Arkansas, due to the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe vs. Wade.
The court decision triggered a state law that immediately prohibited almost all abortions in Arkansas.
The state Health Department has responded by setting up a call line called the Pregnancy and Parenting Resource Call Line.
If you call 1--855-275-6667 you can get information about the availability of resources in your area that benefits pregnant women.
The call line will provide information about health care, prenatal and post natal care, adoption, foster care, where to help paying for child care and mental health providers in your area.
The call line can also help you find assistance applying for a job, getting treatment for addictions and signing up for welfare and food stamps.
From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.